As Hawaii (and Honolulu) grew, so did urban issues including disease associated with unclean drinking water. From 1896 to 1900, officials financed the construction of a modern sewer system which included this pumping station which pushed the island's sewage 1,200 feet out to sea. This historic building operated as the primary pumping station for the area near Waikiki until 1955. In 2014, efforts began to convert the historic building into the Na Kupuna Makamae (The Beloved Kupuna) Center for senior citizens.
To see the pumping station is to understand the constant battle created by urbanization, once deemed a flush and forget society by environmental historian, Theodore Steinberg. Urban locations must always find a way to drink from clean water while simultaneously using that water to dispose of waste. Thus, as Oahu grew, so did its urban problems and the pumping station served as its first line of defense against one of its most significant issues -- disease related to unclean water.