LIHUE >> The state Department of Health wants to know how large amounts of bacteria are getting into a Kauai stream.
The state is requesting permission from landowner Grove Farm to access property in Mahaulepu to figure out what’s getting into the Waiopili Stream.
Waiopili flows off Grove Farm land and enters the ocean near Makauwahi Cave Reserve. It’s one of several streams on Kauai that continuously fails to meet state water-quality standards, the Garden Island (http://ow.ly/D7dKb) reported.
The department’s sampling found high concentrations of enterococcus and clostridium, said Watson Okubo, monitoring and analysis section chief of the department’s Clean Water Branch. Enterococcus is bacteria indicating contamination from feces of warm-blooded animals, including humans.
While the high counts could potentially be a violation of the Clean Water Act, they are not necessarily from humans and may be indigenous to the area, Okubo said.
“The presence of cattle and human markers only indicates to us that there was cattle and human influences in the past,” he said. “When is the question.”
Okubo said he needs to get on the property to find out what the sources are.
Grove Farm never received any data or official report on test results, company Vice President Marissa Sandblom said in an email Monday.
County spokeswoman Beth Tokioka said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. is aware of the situation and interested in getting more solid data about what’s causing the bacteria levels.
“We’re encouraging DOH and (Grove Farm) to work together and get more answers ASAP,” she said in an email. “Grove Farm said they were in discussions with DOH and would do their best to assist. It’s really up to the two of them at this point.”
The Kauai chapter of the Surfrider Foundation began collecting samples in the area in April.
“This thing is eight times more polluted than the worst ones (on the island),” Carl Berg, of the foundation, said. “This is just outrageous.”