One down, two to go

  • Graphic submitted by Surfrider Blue Water Task Force

    This chart shows results from October water sampling around Kauai.

LIHUE — The state Department of Health canceled a brown water advisory Monday, the first of several that had been in effect since Aug. 31, just days after remnants of Hurricane Lane drenched the islands.

That brown water advisory was for Koloa Landing, two other brown water advisories remain in effect.

“The first is for North Kauai from Waikoko to Wainiha, which was posted on Aug. 31 due to stormwater runoff,” said DOH spokeswoman Anna Koethe.

The second is for Hanalei Bay, which was posted on Oct. 2 due to stormwater runoff. Hanalei Bay was checked Tuesday to determine whether the advisory can be canceled, she said.

Meanwhile, Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force released results from October sampling at 30 different sites around Kauai on Oct. 13.

Hawaii state standards for clean water are 130 enterococci bacteria/100 ml for a single sample. According to testing done by the BWTF, 15 sites returned results with bacteria counts above 130/100 ml.

Those places include The Bowl surf spot in Hanalei, Anahola Stream, Gillin’s Beach at Mahaulepu, Hanamulu Stream and Waiopili Stream in Mahaulepu.

BWTF tests these areas monthly, and they conduct testing in different areas than DOH staff does.

Water quality sampling and signage to alert of contamination aren’t necessarily linked to a brown water advisories, which DOH says is issues to advise beach users to use caution when waters are brown, turbid or cloudy, as these waters may contain land-based polluted runoff.

In addition to heavy rain, high surf may also warrant a brown water advisory because high wave activity can churn waters. Other events such as water main breaks may also cause land-based pollutants to be washed into beaches and streams.

DOH reminds people that swimming in affected waters could have health risks.

“Waters do not need to be brown during a brown water advisory; runoff from rocky areas with little soil may not be brown in color, but are often turbid or cloudy,” Koethe said.

Surfrider’s BWTF also recommends taking precautions against swimming in brown water.

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Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

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