Surfrider warns to stay out of brown water
Very heavy rains this week on Kauai contaminated flood waters and ocean waters with sewage from two different spills from County Wastewater Treatment Plants (Wailua and Waimea), surface water runoff carrying animal wastes, and flooding and overflowing of cesspools and septic tanks.
On Monday March 16, the Hawaii Department of Health issued a Brown Water Advisory for Kauai: “The public is advised to stay out of flood waters and storm water runoff due to possible overflowing cesspools, sewer, manholes, pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals, and associated flood debris.” Unfortunately, no signs were posted on the beaches warning beach users.
Whereas, chemicals, pesticides, and debris in the water are of concern, it is the bacteria and virus pathogens associated with human and animal feces that are most dangerous to us. The novel coronavirus that is pandemic and killing people now is an example of how dangerous viruses can be to human health. While coronaviruses are known to be present in human feces and can survive in freshwater, it is not known how long they may survive in saltwater. It is expected that the concentration of viral contamination will be diluted by ocean waters.
It is alarming to see photos in this newspaper of people standing or paddling in waters with known sewage runoff. Surfrider warns everyone to stay out of this heavily polluted water, especially in residential flooded areas. If you do go in, be sure to wash thoroughly with soap and water, just as the alert for novel coronavirus recommends.
The Dept. of Health does not test the water to determine when it is safe to go back in but will eventually cancel the Brown Water Advisory when the water looks clean. DOH regular water quality testing will be not be done next week due to shutdown of State agencies because of the coronavirus pandemic. Check the DOH website for water quality advisories and latest data.
Dr. John Alderete, PhD, virology and Dr. Carl J. Berg, PhD, ecology, Kauai Chapter, Surfrider Foundation
Coming, full-fledged economic stall is going to be ugly
Hi, people of the community and country. I am writing because my frustration level with the decision-makers in our community, country, whatever, is at the boiling point. We are about to enter a full fledged economic stall where, like an airplane that stalls in flight, it’s coming down fast and it’s gonna be ugly. This is something that the world hasn’t seen in over a century.
Can we get real for a minute and realize what is happening? Thousands of small businesses are going to close at least temporarily. How many restaurants do you think can afford to close for any length of time and survive? What about their employees? I don’t give a rat’s ass about the damn GDP or other measurements of the “economy.” I care about people.
What do we need to do to support the small businesses of all types and the millions of people that work in them, while the economy stalls for some period of time, I’m guessing at least two to four months? A payroll tax cut doesn’t help if there isn’t a payroll. It is hugely expensive to the treasury, but doesn’t do much if anything for those most directly affected by this crisis.
How about we look at business-interruption insurance and quick, simple, unemployment insurance that kicks in immediately? All businesses that rely on public interaction, i.e. restaurants, theaters, retailers, activities and entertainment, etc. If we want to stop the spread of this pandemic in our communities, these businesses need to close for a period of time.
I own a family restaurant, one that does quite well, and I don’t know how long we can pay our personal bills if we close, not to mention the business’ bills. Yet I’m torn, because I know that every day that we open our doors, we create a space where the virus can spread. We are wiping all surfaces and door knobs, etc., in an effort to minimize the risk, but a busy restaurant is not an environment to increase “social distancing,” and a not-busy restaurant doesn’t last very long.
There is also the responsibility we feel for our employees. They need paychecks. I would guess very few could pay their rent missing more than one paycheck. And if we close for a while, will we be able to reopen and employ them? Yet there is also the responsibility to their health. I don’t want them in an environment where they are at increased risk of contracting the virus and in turn bringing it home to their families.
So, this is where we are. We want to do the responsible thing for everyone, the community at large, our customers, employees and ourselves. Can we please get it together as a country so that can happen without completely devastating millions of our citizens’ lives? I really don’t think it would be that hard. Just remember who you are elected to represent and not who paid for your campaigns.
Daniel Seltzer, Koloa