Maui News

Lahaina Force Main Project Runs Into Unforeseen Problems

July 19, 2012, 7:12 AM HST
* Updated July 19, 9:05 AM
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Photo courtesy of Maui Department of Environmental Management.

By Wendy Osher

Unforeseen problems have been encountered by construction crews while replacing a wastewater force main in Lahaina.

It has resulted in snarled traffic on the Honoapiilani Highway near the Lahaina Civic Center in recent days.

County officials say the problems have also delayed the projected completion date of the project.

Officials from the county Department of Environmental Management say crews unexpectedly ran into large boulders under the highway, slowing construction speed on the project.


Crews initially had planned to complete construction on the 750-foot long force main in eight days.  Typical construction methods permits 100-feet of force main to be constructed per day; but the latest developments have slowed productivity to 40-feet per day.

Photo courtesy of Maui Department of Environmental Management.


At the current rate of production, it is anticipated that construction will take an additional eight to 10 work days to complete.

Crews also anticipate additional impacts to motorists during the repaving phase of the project, which has yet to be scheduled.

In response to traffic delays, crews began implementation of a traffic control plan in the area that includes manual operation of the traffic light to minimize the wait time at the intersection.  Traffic in the northbound direction has also been reduced to one lane, with excess traffic being detoured onto Lahaina Civic Center Drive.


Work to replace the aging force main began on July 5 following two major rupture events in recent years.

  • On February 8, 2007 approximately 687,500 gallons of raw sewage spilled when the line broke in the vicinity of Wahikuli Beach Park.
  • On August 15, 2011, another break resulted in no spill to the ocean, but residents of Wahikuli experienced night time noise disruptions as crews worked overnight to fix the line.

Photo courtesy of Maui Department of Environmental Management.

The old force main, which was constructed in 1976, is made of ductile iron and was reaching the end of its useful life.

It is being replaced with a new 20-inch force main that spans 750-feet.

County officials say the Lahaina Wastewater Pump Station #3 conveys approximately 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage every day, servicing the Lahaina area from Puamana to the Lahaina Civic Center.

The sewage is then conveyed to the next pump station located near the Kaanapali Parkway, and eventually conveyed to the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility.

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