LYDGATE POND CLOSED AGAIN

WAILUA – For the second time in three weeks, the popular Lydgate Park pond has been closed.

This time, though, it is a different breed of debris clogging the swimming hole.

Officials with the Kaua’i Fire Department Ocean Safety Bureau announced the closure Monday after debris from the heavy week-end rains washed into the pools, according to Kaleo Ho’okano, Ocean Safety Bureau supervisor.

Reports by state Department of Health officials indicate that the water quality of the Lydgate Park pond is currently very poor, and “No Swimming” as well as “Beach Closed” signs have been posted along the pond’s shoreline.

The normal blue color of the pool, as well as the ocean and Wailua River, has been replaced by a dirty-brown hue due to the heavy runoff.

A water safety officer on duty Tuesday morning indicated that the state Department of Health officials were on hand Monday to take water samples and, at the time, noted that the leptospirosis count was high.

He added that the wood floating in the pond is conducive to raising those levels higher, and was appreciative of the educational conversation the health officials had with him.

Compounding the problem of cleanup this time is the difference in the type of debris that has collected, he said.

On the previous storm, the primary debris consisted of branches, tree trunks, and large pieces of wood. That collection was cleared by a private contractor just days before another weather system dumped rain on the island.

This time, the wood is compounded by vegetative waste that is shredded very fine. The water-safety officer pointed out that there is also evidence of diesel oil in the debris, which causes the fine vegetative material to cake, adding an element of health risk to people wanting to clear debris.

However, county park caretakers were on the job Monday morning, the beach area showing evidence of their toil.

Armed with rakes, chain saws, and other cutting tools, members of the crew had cleared the sand beaches of wood debris, which was piled at one end of the beach.

The caretakers explained that, during the last storm, their hands were tied because the utility cart was down. The cart has since been repaired, and working around their regular park-maintenance schedule, crew members pitched in to help clear the beaches of the larger pieces of debris, staying clear of the silt buildup.

While clearing debris, they said they got a lot of help from citizens who pitched in.

It is uncertain how long the beach clean-up will take, Ho’okano said.

“But, when that’s done, and the Department of Health gives us the go-ahead, then we can re-open the pond.”

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