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New retractable gutter screens installed in Enchanted Lake to keep debris away

Nina Wu
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A gutter inlet in Enchanted Lake equipped with an automatic retractable screen.

Honolulu officials have installed 110 retractable screens in front of street gutters in Kailua’s Enchanted Lake neighborhood at a cost of about $310,000 as part of an overall project to help keep waters clean.

The automatic retractable screens are designed to prevent litter and debris from entering the storm drain system, where it may ultimately be discharged into Kaʻelepulu Pond, Kaʻelepulu Stream and Kailua Bay, according to the Honolulu Department of Facility Maintenance.

“It’s important to make sure that we don’t introduce any litter, trash or debris into near-shore waters especially streams and rivers that empty into the ocean,” said Ross Sasamura, DFM’s director and chief engineer. “By having these screens in place, it actually prevents that type of litter from entering the system and being discharged from where we don’t want it to go.

Unlike temporary socks or other devices used during construction, Sasamura said these screens are designed to be in place permanently and have a spring mechanism that allows them to open up during heavy rains for proper drainage. They also make curbside debris removal easier for the city’s street sweepers.

The city said the screens are in line with Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s new Oahu Resilience Strategy.

Besides Enchanted Lake, the screens have been installed in Hawaii Kai and Kuliouou, and will eventually be installed in portions of Waikiki, downtown Honolulu, Chinatown and Salt Lake.

“Enchanted Lake is a very special area,” Sasamura said. “There are waterways and other water bodies there that are very valuable ecosystems, not only to the community but to the island of Oahu as a whole. So it’s important for us to minimize any impacts we have, through development, through residential areas and other uses, and really do our best to make sure that the water stays clean.”

Oahu residents can help by sweeping and removing leaves, litter and debris, keeping lids on garbage cans and containing rain through rain barrels and rain gardens, he said.

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