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June water quality report released

LIHU‘E — A monthly analysis of streams, rivers and surf spots around the island found high concentrations of enterococcus bacterium, a federally recognized indicator of fecal presence in water, at a number of locations.

Volunteers with the Kaua‘i Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force gathered water samples from 20 sites across the island, and then tested the water for the bacterium.

The samples, which were collected on Saturday, June 8, showed six sites produced results below Hawai‘i’s single-day sample limit of 130 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water.

The sites with subpar readings were, from bad to worse, Wainiha Stream, Hanalei River, Hanamaulu Stream, Koloa Landing, Moloa‘a Stream and Nawiliwili.

The sites with acceptable readings were, from top to bottom, Waikokos, Waiohai Surf, Anini, Kealia Surf, Anahola Bay Surf, Pakalas Surf, Middles Surf, Kalihiwai Surf and Wailua River Park.

Five sites — Hanalei Colony, Rock Quarry Surf, Hanamaulu Beach, The Bowl Surf and Kalapaki Bay Surf — fell in between subpar and acceptable

The task force uses the same test as the Hawai‘i Department of Health (HDOH), but compliments its water quality program by testing surf sites and streams, not the mainly popular beaches the HDOH tests.

“Unfortunately, the Department of Health has not tested waters on Kaua‘i since the end of January, even during periods of heavy rainfall when surface runoff and groundwater contamination from cesspools creates fecal indicating bacteria concentrations in the thousands,” said Surfrider Kaua‘i senior scientist Carl Berg in a note that accompanied the findings.

The task force’s year-to-date geomean — essentially a site’s average bacterial concentration in 2024 — found 13 sites tested well below the mean bacteria concentration mark of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water.

The 13 sites were, from bad to worse, The Bowl Surf, Rock Quarry Surf, Kalapaki Bay Surf, Kalihiwai Surf, Hanamaulu Beach, Wailua River Park, Kealia Surf, Hanalei River, Wainiha Stream, Koloa Landing, Nawiliwili, Hanamaulu Stream and Moloa‘a Stream.

Two sites, Waikokos and Anahola Bay Surf, were just under the bacteria concentration mark, as each came in at 36 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water.

“All of the streams are chronically polluted and should be avoided,” said Berg, who added caution signs need to be posted at the sites and Surfrider is hoping to work with the County of Kaua‘i in order to put the signs up at streams and rivers abutting county parks, such as Nawiliwili, Niumalu and Koloa Landing.
Source: The Garden Island

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