Mahaulepu area to reopen in December

MAHAULEPU — The access road leading to Mahaulepu Beach should be open again in early December, according to the state Department of Health.

The road, which is on Grove Farm land, was closed in September at DOH’s recommendation after tests revealed high bacteria levels in the water.

“Tests and studies taking place at Mahaulepu are progressing well and at this time, we expect to reopen the area around Dec. 1,” said Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for DOH. “The collection of samples is nearing completion and UC Berkeley is in the process of testing the samples.”

For the past month, DOH has been conducting specialized PhyloChip testing of the Waiopili Ditch to determine the nature of the water’s contaminants.

“The department appreciates Mahaulepu Farm’s cooperation during our water quality study to determine the cause of high bacteria levels found in previous studies,” Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of environmental health, told TGI in September when the road was closed. “Restricting access to the area will help ensure the accuracy of our sampling.”

While scientists are testing the water and the road is closed, Grove Farm is also doing some upkeep and repair work.

Grove Farm representatives have emphasized the closure is temporary and part of an ongoing investigation to “get to the bottom” of the water quality issue.

Even though the access road is set to be reopened, Okubo said folks should still watch for signs announcing potential high bacteria counts.

“The area will remain posted with caution signs,” she said.

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