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Hilo Wastewater Mishap Sends Hundreds of Thousands of Gallons into Bay

<i>KITV via CNN Newsource</i><br/>A Hilo Wastewater mishap sent 607 thousand gallons of sewage water into the bay.
KITV via CNN Newsource
A Hilo Wastewater mishap sent 607 thousand gallons of sewage water into the bay.

By Jeremy Lee

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    HILO, Hawaii (KITV) — The 607 thousand gallons of sewage water that accidentally flowed out into Hilo Bay had not been through the final step of chlorination.

The Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management took Island News down to the Hilo Wastewater Facility to see the chlorination tanks.

The mistake resulted in a water quality advisory is in effect for Hilo Bay, beyond the breakwater.

The release of hundreds of thousands of gallons of what is called “reclaimed water” took place last Friday. The term refers to water which did not receive the final chlorination treatment.

Typically, 3 million gallons are discharged daily, to put that 607,000 gallons in perspective.

“The outfall is about less than a mile into the ocean, into the bay, and it’s about 50 to 60 feet deep,” Department of Environmental Management Director Ramzi Mansour told Island News, “So it’s reclaimed water. It goes through filtration and oxidation, and it goes through the final step, which is chlorination before discharge.”

For a four-hour period the Hilo wastewater treatment plant was releasing the effluent that was not fully treated.

According to the Department of Environmental Management, an error occurred as chlorine was being replenished. The Department of Health issued the advisory and will continue testing in the area.

The facility is outdated. Hawaii county is currently looking at bids at a project slated at a $260 million project to rehabilitate and refurbish the Hilo wastewater treatment facility.

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