County crews begin cleanup of Lydgate Park

WAILUA — County parks workers brought in heavy equipment Tuesday to begin clearing vegetative debris at the popular Morgan’s Ponds swimming areas at Lydgate Park, where “no swimming” signs have been posted since March 29.

“We made great progress today,” County Parks and Recreation Director Lenny Rapozo said. “There’s still a lot more work to be done, so parks personnel will be returning to the ponds.”

Rapozo said the county also has contracted with an outside company to assist with the project and bring extra equipment to the site.

Thomas Noyes of the all-volunteer Friends of Kamalani & Lydgate Park said the work is being done ahead of a beach cleanup Saturday to try and re-open the popular beach that was closed to swimmers due to safety concerns.

“We don’t know what to expect after the county crews do their work,” Noyes said about the county’s efforts that will continue today. “We’re going to show up and see what we can do.”

Heavy rains in March forced closure of the park following flooding and a spill at the nearby Wailua Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Cleanup for the spill was done in accordance with the state Department of Health protocol, and what remains is the accumulation of vegetative debris along the waterline and in the water at Morgan’s Ponds.

“If the county crews remove the wood from the waterline, the tides will bring the wood from the water ashore,” Noyes said. “The crews won’t have to get wet. Right now, there’re a lot of nasty things in the water.”

Adding to the problem is leaf mold, a vegetative material resembling garden compost which is mixed in with the wood.

Noyes said the leaf mold did not wash down from the Wailua River, but instead came from within the park as evidenced by the large washouts leading to the ponds.

“Hopefully, the crews with the heavy equipment will reclaim some of the sand and soil to fill in the eroded areas,” Noyes said.

Noyes feels that once the wood is removed, the tide will wash the leaf mold out to sea.

Noyes and his fellow volunteers are scheduled to do cleanup work at the park Saturday.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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