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Leeward beaches reopen

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 9:01 p.m. HST, Jan 23, 2011


The state Department of Health authorized the removal today of "contaminated water" signs that were posted from Kahe Point to the Ko Olina Lagoons following the Jan. 13 rain that swept medical debris from the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill into the ocean.

But state Health Department officials warned beach-goers to be alert for poor water quality.

"Based on the bacterial levels and amount of debris that was found, it's probably OK for people to go back swimming into the water," Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said today. "But they should still be cautious if they see brown water. ... If water is discolored, people should use common sense and not go back into the water."

Daily water samples indicate that bacterial levels have returned to normal near the site where storm water and refuse entered the ocean, Health officials said in a statement.

No medical waste has been found on the Leeward coast since Jan. 20, Health officials said.

However, some material that entered the ocean could continue to wash ashore for months, they said.

Anyone who discovers medical waste — including syringes, needles, plastic tubing, blood vials, and intravenous bags — should immediately call Waste Management, the operator of the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill, at 668-2985, Health officials said.


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