East Hawaii News

Park Pipe Replacement a Steamy Subject

January 10, 2014, 11:53 AM HST
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The replacement of a water main in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is really steaming up the area.

The project involves replacing about 3,000 feet of failing pipe along Crater Rim Drive that supplies water to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Jaggar Museum.

The trench travels through an area with numerous steam vents, and has created a few more of its own.

The water main project along Crater Rim Drive is providing some angular albeit temporary new steam vents. BIN photo.

The water main project along Crater Rim Drive is providing some angular albeit temporary new steam vents. BIN photo.

The project originally was expected to require the closure of one lane of the roadway but so far, HVNP spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane said, that hasn’t been necessary.

The 10-week project is slightly ahead of schedule, said Park Engineer Steve Brum.

However, he expects the work to slow as it moves closer to the park’s visitor center, where crews will encounter trees and more complex geology in the form of roadside ground cracks.

The pipe being utilized is insulated with high-density polyethylene, which Brum said is standard material for higher-heat applications including the geothermal industry.

He said the insulation will extend the pipe’s service life and reduce the amount of treatment necessary for the water it carries, as higher heat requires more chlorination.

“This will both insure public safety and reduce government maintenance expenditures over the long term,” Brum said.

The new line is expected to begin providing water to the US Geological Survey facilities around mid-February.

This sign along Crater Rim Drive is a bit misleading, at least until the trench for the new water line is filled in. BIN photo.

This sign along Crater Rim Drive is a bit misleading, at least until the trench for the new water line is filled in. BIN photo.

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