• Friday, September 21, 2018
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Top News| Weather

Windward Oahu water quality improves, but some advisories remain

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The Hawaii Department of Health canceled its wastewater discharge advisory for Kailua Beach Park this afternoon, but brown water advisories are still in effect for several Windward Oahu beaches.

“We wanted to get one more day of water sampling, and today looked good,” said state environmental health specialist Dale Mikami. “Things like the sunlight will start to kill of bacteria as well as saltwater itself and then there’s just the natural ebb and flow of the currents, so all of those things help to kill off or move whatever’s out there.”

However, a brown water advisory remains in effect for Kailua and Lanikai shorelines. The advisory covers the area flowing out of the stream up to Popoia Island, or Flat Island. The public is advised to stay out if the water if it is brown.

The department’s Clean Water Branch also issued a brown water advisory for Waimea Bay Beach Park on this afternoon. “Heavy rain has resulted in stormwater runoff entering into coastal waters. The public is advised to stay out of flood waters and storm water runoff due to possible overflowing cesspools, sewer, manholes, pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals, and associated flood debris,” the advisory said.

Enterococci bacteria levels at Kailua Beach Park spiked to an astronomical 26,000 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters at the stream entry on Monday following Sunday’s extreme downpour and sewage overflows, but were back down to near-normal levels Thursday.

Levels remained extremely high for the first three days of the overflow, but on Thursday, data provided by the city found the enterococci levels were down to 140 colony forming units per 100 milliliters sample at the Ka‘elepulu Stream, which was still above the threshold level of 130 per 100 milliliters. The area measured is where Ka‘elepulu Stream flows into the ocean at Kailua Beach Park, near the lifeguard stand and main parking lot.

The state’s threshold for enterococci at 130 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards..

The numbers fell dramatically from earlier in the week, when the rates were still 34 times the limit, at 4,500 per 100 milliliters at the site on Tuesday, for instance. On Wednesday, the levels were at 500 per 100 milliliters.

Wastewater discharge advisories still remain in effect for Kawa Stream and Kaneohe Bay.

Signs have been posted, but another round of heavy rains is also expected over windward and southeast slopes in the state through the weekend.

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