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Chronic water pollution found in Honolulu, Kāneʻohe, and Haleʻiwa

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Øyvind Holmstad
/
Wikimedia Commons

The Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force found high concentrations of bacteria in freshwater sources and beaches around Honolulu, Kāneʻohe, and Haleʻiwa.

Human and animal waste in water can elevate the presence of a bacteria known as Enterococcus, which can cause urinary tract infections and meningitis.

Honolulu had the highest levels of Enterococci contamination around Magic Island.

About 77% of water samples from the windward side of Oʻahu exceeded state health standards. The highest levels of contamination were found by Kahaluʻu, Hakipuʻu Boat Ramp, and Waiāhole Beach Park.

Chocolate Surf Break in Haleʻiwa had the most Enterococci contamination on all of Oʻahu with 95% of samples exceeding health standards.

Areas with high concentration of bacteria-infested waters also have a high concentration of cesspools. The wastewater slowly seeps out of its storage before it is able to be treated — which contaminates nearby water with sanitary waste from toilets.

Stormwater and groundwater runoff also contribute Enterococci from animal waste into streams and coastal ecosystems.

The Blue Water Task Force advises the public to stay out of the water if it is brown. Elevated bacteria levels are often found in brown waters.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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