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Waiopili officially polluted

  • photo courtesy of DOH

    Signs are posted by the Department of Health at Maha’ulepu Beach warning the public of high bacteria levels in the water.

  • photo submitted by Friends of Mahaulepu

    This photo shows the runoff created by heavy rains at the mouth of the Waiopili Stream at Maha’ulepu.

MAHAULEPU — Waiopili Stream, which meets the ocean at Mahaulepu Beach on Kauai’s South Side, has been officially dubbed an impaired waterway by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The stream has been on the Hawaii’s draft 2016 303 (d) List of Impaired Waters, and final approval of the list was given by EPA in February.

That means the water in the stream doesn’t meet federal water quality standards. Lists are updated every two years, and community members working to protect that area are encouraged.

“It is great that the determination has at last been made,” said Bridgett Hammerquist of the group Friends of Mahaulepu. “It is now an impaired body of water. The final is out.”

The state has had signs warning of polluted waters in the area since August 2016, according to the Department of Health, after a letter from the EPA forced DOH to post the signs in the area.

“As a recipient of a BEACH Act grant, Hawaii DOH is required to post signs at beaches when water quality standards for pathogen or pathogen indicators are not met at coastal recreation waters,” the EPA letter said.

The letter continued: “EPA also urges Hawaii DOH to continue its investigation of the source of bacteria.”

Chronically, samples taken from the Waiopili Stream by scientists contain bacteria counts higher than the state threshold of 130 enterococci parts per 100 mL.

In February, samples taken by the Blue Water Task Force, Surfrider Kauai’s water quality monitoring team, showed an enterococcus concentration of 12,997 parts per 100 mL.

Pakalas was the only place on Kauai with numbers that surpassed the counts at Waiopili Stream in February, with an enterococcus concentration of 19,863 parts per 100 mL.

DOH’s Clean Water Branch has had a brown water advisory issued for the island of Kauai since Feb. 2, due to stormwater runoff, as well, which can carry with it bacteria and pathogens according to DOH.

The Waiopili Stream flows downhill from the Hawaii Dairy Farms’ proposed dairy site and has been used by Friends of Maha’ulepu as an example of potential pollution due to the planed 699-minimum cattle dairy.

“It should be really hard to add untreated bacteria animal waste in Mahaulepu with an already impaired stream that drains in the central valley there where they wanted to place an agricultural operation,” Hammerquist said.

Hawaii Dairy Farms’ representatives, however, say that they have a comprehensive water quality monitoring plan to be regularly implemented once operations are started.

“The water quality data will empirically demonstrate conditions to address concerns and future regulatory requirements,” Amy Hennessey, spokeswoman for HDF, told TGI.

HDF’s current conservation plan and best management practices will meet any potential needs to protect the water quality in the area, Hennessey said.

As for the Waiopili Stream, DOH says the public is still being warned of high bacteria content in the water at the popular swimming beach near CJM Stables’ horse trails.

  1. MisterM March 7, 2018 8:28 am Reply

    699 “minimum” dairy farm won’t have any impact on an already horribly polluted stream? Gotta stop smoking the wacky weed. Dairy farms are one of the most polluting operations. Should be illegal to approve any new permits until the water meets minimum Federal water quality standards.

    1. Lee March 7, 2018 3:55 pm Reply

      What wacky weed are you smoking to not ask who actually is polluting our streams? Who in the area IS actually operating? Locals know. I suspect Hammerquist does too and isn’t saying.

      1. DevelopmentIsRegression March 7, 2018 6:06 pm Reply

        The Grove Farm Sewage Dump is leaching into Waio’pili. If Grove Farm has a negligent history of polluting the waters they can’t be trusted with a dairy.

      2. Lee March 7, 2018 6:16 pm Reply

        I’ve been told the pollution comes from years back when sewage guys were allowed to dump loads in the fields upstream. I’m surprised they haven’t narrowed the location after all these years. They’ve got sniffer dogs on the case!

        1. DevelopmentIsRegression March 8, 2018 2:49 pm Reply

          They know where the dump site was. The DOH licensed a sewage sludge dump without liners. Then Grove Farm dumped raw sewage there. Grove Farm and Watson Okubo(DOH) are trying o hide it because they know they did wrong.

  2. Alahaki March 7, 2018 8:29 am Reply

    So what’s the source of the pollution? Very odd to talk about a “proposed” dairy when it’s yet running and obviously is not the source. Hammerquist needs to answer for why Mahaulepu is being polluted on her watch!

    1. DevelopmentIsRegression March 8, 2018 2:50 pm Reply

      The Grove Farm sewage dump is the source of the pollution. No liners and they were dumping raw sewage. Grove Farm and DOH need to answer for it not Hammerquist.

  3. James March 7, 2018 8:51 am Reply

    If Pakalas has a higher bacterial count than this beach, why didn’t it get the same designation?

  4. Sandy March 7, 2018 10:16 am Reply

    The Waiopili Stream is a recipient of the BEACH act grant, is Pakala’s since it has a much higher count? If not, why not? What do they intend to do about these high counts? Why is Pakala’s so high? (please don’t say it’s from natural sources, because no way it can be!)

    1. DevelopmentIsRegression March 8, 2018 2:52 pm Reply

      Nothing. Thatʻs why Grove Farm wants to cause more fecal pollution so that they donʻt have to clean up all the raw sewage they dumped there.

  5. Kauai4life March 7, 2018 10:32 am Reply

    Great job of, once again, allowing a group of NIMBYs to control the narrative. The stream is polluted and the cause is… a non-existent dairy farm? Not one word of mitigation measures to clean up this important stream? Not good enough

    1. DevelopmentIsRegression March 8, 2018 2:54 pm Reply

      The Grove Farm sewage dump is leaching into Waioʻpili stream. They donʻt want to clean it up thatʻs why they want to have a dairy to pollute more feces.

  6. Lenny for mayor March 7, 2018 12:29 pm Reply

    If it’s already dirty it means that the dairy will clean it up!

  7. Dawg2000 March 7, 2018 12:48 pm Reply

    No one ever mentions the horse poop that can always be found in or near the stream, its always the dairy that isn’t operating yet or cesspools in Koloa. Kind of like Pakala stream with its cow poop.

  8. SteveMartin March 7, 2018 1:16 pm Reply

    The Hammerquist lynchig mobs only concern is the dairy. It has nothing to do with the polluted stream. It’s their assumptions that’s driving them to the nimby conclusions. Notice they don’t mention what’s causing the pollution anywhere except where the dairy will be. How come they are not fighting anyone else over these areas that are polluted? I hope the dairy gets going real soon. I love to watch the nimby’s waste more money.

    1. DevelopmentIsRegression March 8, 2018 2:57 pm Reply

      The Grove Farm sewage dump is the cause of pollution. It shows that Grove Farm has a history of bad land management. Which means that the Dairy is just another bad idea which will cause even more feces in the stream.

  9. Sunrise_blue March 7, 2018 1:51 pm Reply

    Ocean is important. I think every area in contact with it should be clean. Important research in Ocean marine life is Hawai’i. I do hope the local government recognizes the federal agencies that are for marine life fisheries in Hawai’i. For example, more money spent on projects geared towards Ocean science. Building machine submarines that can go to the ocean depth to about 1,500 – 3,000 ft. These machines are highly technical and can research fisheries near Hawaiian waters that exceed 1,500 feet depth height. 18,000 feet was measured near Hawai’i. Wow. Submersibles, as they refer to it. Give more money to science and building it.

  10. Lee March 7, 2018 3:50 pm Reply

    It’s creepy that Hammerquist thinks it’s “great” the stream is being polluted. A real friend of Mahaulepu might try to figure out what’s actually polluting the stream. Jessica, please do a story on that.

    1. DevelopmentIsRegression March 8, 2018 2:59 pm Reply

      Everyone knows itʻs the Grove Farm sewage dump leaching into Wioʻpili. They were supposed to only dump sewage sludge but then they started dumping raw sewage from honey trucks. No liners and no oversight from DOH.

  11. kauaiStyle March 7, 2018 5:52 pm Reply

    Easy to see who the Dairy Farm PR person is. Multiple names, but same descriptive words. BTW Lee, Hammerquist doesn’t think it’s great that the stream is being polluted, he thinks it’s great that it is now federally recognized as polluted, two completely different things. Typical troll maneuver on your end. And people are not blaming a non-existent dairy farm, they are saying that the river is already polluted so a mega dairy in the same watershed isn’t going to help. PR people always trying to twist words. You gotta figure what private citizen actually cares about the the Dairy Farm getting approved…..

  12. 205guy March 7, 2018 11:08 pm Reply

    Last year sometime, I saw an article somewhere that mentioned the source of the pollution might be the dumping of sewage sludge from the Poipu wastewater treatment plant on Grove farm land. The sludge has to be cleaned out and might as well use it for fertilizer, but it has to be fully processed first and dumped to a spot that won’t run into the surface or ground water. Seems like there was a failure in the process, and I wish the newspaper would look into this possibility.

    1. DevelopmentIsRegression March 8, 2018 3:00 pm Reply

      You are correct. The Grove Farm sewage dump is leaching into Wioʻpili. They were supposed to only dump sewage sludge but they dumped raw sewage too. No liners and the DOHʻs Watson okubo is trying to hide the fact that they licensed the operation.

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