About 1,200 gallons of waste water overflowed from manhole on 9th Avenue, prompting the state Department of Health to warn the public to stay out of Palolo Stream, Ala Wai Canal and waters of Magic Island and Ala Wai Yacht Harbor.

The water quality is being tested today, but the state won’t have the results of the water sampling until tomorrow, said Watson Okubo of the Health Department’s Clean Water Branch.

“Compared to the big spill we had, this is not so big but you’re still dealing with human sewage so you have to be cautious,” Okubo said, comparing this incident to one in 2006 when some 48 million1 gallons of raw sewage was dumped into the Ala Wai Canal and closed popular South Shore beaches for days.

This time, the health department estimates that about 700 gallons of sewage spilled into Palolo Stream, which connects to the Ala Wai Canal. Swimmers aren’t being warned about the water quality at Ala Moana Beach Park, but the public is being asked to stay out of waters off Magic Island. “There’s a possibility the tides can push it right back into the lagoon,” Okubo said. “There shouldn’t be swimming where there are signs posted.”

This has been a slow year for waste water spills, partially because of the dry weather. “Whenever it rains, we have problems. That’s expected,” Okubo said.

In addition to spills caused by the weather, Okubo said some sewage problems have been caused when expanding tree roots have cracked the pipes or clogs have caused by cleaning. Grease in an 8-inch line caused this spill.

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  1. A previous version had the incorrect volume of the 2006 spill.

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