A swim while the sun’s out

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island

    People swim in Hanalei Bay at Pine Trees Beach on Wednesday.

HANALEI — While the islandwide brown water advisory hasn’t yet been canceled by the state Department of Health, the county Department of Water has canceled the do not drink advisory for customers in Wainiha.

The advisory was for residents on Ananalu Road, Anahulu Road and on a portion of Kuhio Highway, and between Ala Eke Road and the Lumahai River in Wainiha.

“DOW officials have completed water quality and system assessments to confirm that the water quality is safe for consumption,” a Thursday 7:45 a.m. announcement said.

DOW also announced that the water conservation notice was lifted for Wainiha residents.

And while residents in Wainiha have been waiting for safe drinking water, some people on Kauai were taking their chances in Hanalei Bay as the week wore on after Hurricane Lane rains flooded the North Shore.

“I’m not worried about swimming in it, but I wouldn’t drink it,” said Stephen Devin, a 25-year Kauai resident who lives in Princeville. “I just went for a swim.”

Devin was enjoying a break in the clouds with his son and daughter on Wednesday at Pine Trees on Hanalei Bay, a good distance away from the river mouth where stormwater runoff enters the ocean.

“The bay, it’s washing itself out and the water really doesn’t look that bad,” he said. “We’ve been inside too long, though. It’s time to get out here and get some sun.”

Devin and his family were just one of many posted up on the sand and playing in the waves on the North Shore on Wednesday. Three or four surfers tried to tease a wave or two out of the flat water, but swimmers dominated the bay that afternoon.

The DOH issued a brown water advisory for the entire island Tuesday, after Hurricane Lane caused stormwater runoff to cascade into coastal waters.

The advisory suggests the public stay out of flood waters and storm water runoff due to the possibility of encountering the remnants of overflowing cesspools, sewers, manholes, pesticides, fecal mater, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals and other flood debris.

“There’s a bit of debris out there, but it’s really not bad,” Devin said.

The DOH advisory points out not all coastal areas may be impacted by runoff, but the rule to remember is if the water is brown, stay out.

Aaron Nicholas, visiting with his family from Austin, Texas, admitted he wasn’t up to speed on all of the potential risks with stormwater runoff in the water on Wednesday when he was playing in the waves with his daughter.

But he said he did know enough to stay out of the water Tuesday.

“The water looked really brown yesterday,” he said as he played with his daughter, Hudson, at Pine Trees. “We didn’t go near it, but it looks good now.”

Meanwhile, reports abound of brown water at Koloa Landing on Kauai’s Southside, heavy debris on the Eastside at Lydgate Beach Park, and accumulated driftwood around the Wailua River at the Kuhio Highway bridges.


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


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