HAIKU, Hawaii (REUTERS) – A dam on the Hawaiian island of Maui that overflowed, forcing evacuations and destroying homes, was scheduled for removal this year as it was in an “unsatisfactory”condition, Hawaii’s Department of Land and natural Resources said.
The Kaupakalua earthen dam, dating from 1885 and 17.4-metre high and 122-metre long, overflowed on Monday during heavy rains in the island’s northern region of Haiku.
Authorities opened evacuation shelters and asked people not to return homes on Tuesday (March 9) because flood advisories were still in effect.
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said six homes were heavily damaged or destroyed. Two bridges were also destroyed, a reporter for Fox affiliate KHON2 News said on Twitter.
“On February 18th of last year, the dam’s owner, East Maui Irrigation Company (EMI) and Mahi Pono Holdings, were sent a Notice of Deficiency (NOD) letter setting a compliance schedule to remediate the structure’s deficiencies”, the department said.
“The owner has been working with the State in complying with this NOD, and in October 2020 submitted a dam safety permit application to remove this structure, which is targeted for construction this summer”, the statement added.
The state land department is charged with inspecting about 135 registered dams statewide.
In 2006, seven people died after the Ka Loko dam collapsed on the island of Kauai.
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