Two years after the Department of Health warned residents to stay out of Kahaluu Lagoon and the channel leading to Kaneohe Bay because tests indicated raw sewage from cesspools was likely polluting the water, there’s no indication that the water quality will improve anytime soon. Health officials say that while hundreds of cesspools in the area are likely causing the high bacteria counts, they are still studying the issue.
TWO YEARS, and still more time needed for their studying the problem? The State thinks it is likely that cesspools are the cause of the pollution, and the bacteria count seems to indicate that is the probable source.
Health officials began testing the water in 2014 after canoe paddlers, boaters and fishermen complained of rashes and skin infections that they suspected were linked to the waterway. The results were alarming. Bacteria counts used to gauge the presence of sewage were as high in some places as water samples taken from the Ala Wai Canal in 2006 when city officials dumped 48 million gallons of raw sewage into the waterway after a pipe burst in Waikiki.
So not only is there a dangerous contamination (think along the lines of Hep A, lepto, staph), but a recreational resource is off limits. Why hasn't the state really jumped on this issue of discovering the source, and moved ahead with rapidity especially due to the health risks? Without figuring out the source of the problem, it is impossible to start making a plan to remedy the situation. You can bet that if was Waikiki (and tourist dollars were in jeopardy), the State would be acting faster. Could it be that the county folks just don't matter that much to the State when it comes to having a clean and safe environment, "No rush"?