Heavy rains bring numerous brown-water advisories

  • Courtesy of Surfrider Foundation

    Blue Water Task Force This graphic shows results from water sampling at various areas on Kaua’i.

  • Courtesy of Surfrider Foundation

    Blue Water Task Force A sign warning people to keep out of the water was posted recently at Nawiliwili.

LIHU’E — Because of heavy rains last week, the state Department of Health issued brown-water advisories for Koloa Landing, Nawiliwili Bay and Wailua Bay, followed by an island-wide BWA on March 9.

In addition, on Friday, March 12, DOH advised the public to remain out of waters of Nawiliwili stream due to a sewage wastewater discharge. These BWAs are still in effect.

Surfrider’s Blue Water Task force went out on Saturday morning, March 13, and tested the waters around the island, from the Hanalei River to Waimea River, including Nawiliwili Stream.

All of the streams were flooded, flowing fast, and turbid brown because of the soil in the water. In addition, Surfrider’s standard test for the fecal-indicating bacteria, Enterococcus, showed all the streams to be heavily polluted with those bacteria.

Some values were as much as 22 times the geometric mean value for the year 2020. The Kilauea Stream mouth had a concentration of 12,033 cfu bacteria/100ml, while it averages 549 cfu/100ml. The state standard is an average of 35 cfu/100ml, so anything above that is considered polluted.

Nawiliwili Stream, which is normally polluted with an average concentration of 736 cfu/100ml, had a concentration of 1,989 bacteria/100ml. Even with DOH warning signs up, a surfer walked through the stream and went out to surf in the sewage-polluted water. This stream is polluted 100% of the time, and a permanent sign should be posted there, Surfrider officials said.

The mouth of the Hanalei Rver had a concentration of 1137 cfu/100ml.

Surfrider advises everyone to use common sense while it’s still raining. “If it’s brown turn around” and stay out of the brown waters until the DOH cancels BWAs for each area.

  1. Makani B. Howard March 21, 2021 9:39 am Reply

    We just put up signs and don’t do anything to fix the problem! When will Kauai wake up?

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