Letters to the Editor for Tuesday — October 14, 2003

• Bacteria levels must be watched

Bacteria levels must be watched

Regarding the recent article about the current EPA findings of high levels of enterococcus bacteria, I ask all Kaua‘i residents to pressure County officials to put the public health first over sweeping this issue under the rug for political correctness.

Statements by Gary Ueunten, an environmental health specialist with the Kaua’i DOH office, indicates an outrageous disregard for public safety. He said, “until we have hard scientific evidence, it is hard to agree or disagree with what he (Berg) says….water studies have been done, and results don’t correspond with Berg’s claims,” Ueunten said.

Your public officials should take seriously ANY levels of enterococcus or e-coli found at our beaches, rivers or surf. Do not let Kaua‘i county officials try to tell you this is not enough to worry about. Insist on public disclosure! The DOH should be doing daily sand, surf and river mouth readings and posting them in the local newspapers or on Web sites for us all to see. They should be putting little picket signs in the sand where they found the bacteria so we can go to another part of the beach or keep our children from swimming in the river mouths where endococcus is present.

Campgrounds, beach sections, river mouths, and public restrooms where endococcus is found should be CLOSED until the source of contamination is found and corrected! If they can cancel surfing competitions in Huntington beach at a loss of millions per day to the city and promoters, I think Kaua‘i County can look after the public’s health too.

In other beach communities in the USA, bacteria counts are posted in local newspapers, red picket signs are placed at the contamination sites, campgrounds and public restrooms are closed temporarily. If this were done, then the county and state will make it a priority to find the source of contamination and fix it. Do not fear that this will deter tourism. We see it as a wonderful public service to be warned, and shows that public officials care about our safety and are doing something to correct it. Ask Kaua‘i residents to not allow your local officials to try to cover this up and argue over whether if “it’s enough to worry about.” ANY levels of enterococcus found in the beach sand, at river mouth or in the surf, is unacceptable!

Susan Eisenhut

Laguna Niguel, Calif.


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