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Monday, January 29, 2001



Saltwater pool rules
subject of hearings


Star-Bulletin staff

New health rules related to the city's Waikiki Natatorium and other public swimming pools will be aired at state Department of Health hearings statewide this week.

The natatorium was rededicated last year after restoration of its facade, grandstand, shower and changing areas, but its saltwater pool has not been reopened.

The Health Department's rules are being updated to comply with Circuit Judge Gail Nakatani's 1999 decision that the natatorium is a public pool subject to state regulation.

She said the pool couldn't be opened until the city had clearance from the state Health Department, which had standards for only freshwater public swimming pools.

The proposed new rules address concerns over health and water quality issues at both public saltwater and freshwater pools.

The Kaimana Beach Coalition argued that a draft of rules released last October was inadequate and the natatorium pool shouldn't be reopened.

Testing for staphylococcus, a bacteria that causes pus in boils and abscesses, has been a major issue.

Deputy Health Director Gary Gill said there was no accepted method to test for the bacteria in salt water, a position challenged by coalition attorney Jim Bickerton.

Changes to current rules include clarification of definitions and requirements and establishment of water quality monitoring standards.

Proposals call for a two-year permit renewal period and permit fee system, and allow the director of health to waive specific public swimming pool requirements under certain conditions.

Hearings will be as follows:

Big Island

Bullet Hilo, today, 1 p.m. Environmental Health Facility Conference Room, 1582 Kamehameha Ave.

Bullet Kona, Tuesday, 1 p.m. Kona International Airport, Administration Training Room.

Oahu

Bullet Honolulu, Wednesday, 1 p.m. Kinau Hale, Board Room, first floor, 1250 Punchbowl St.

Maui

Bullet Wailuku, Thursday, 1 p.m. J. Walter Cameron Center Auditorium, 95 Mahalani St.

Kauai

Bullet Lihue, Friday, 1 p.m. Lihue Health Center, Conference Room, 3040 Umi St.

Copies of the proposed rules will be mailed to people upon request to the Sanitation Branch, Department of Health, 591 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 102, Honolulu, 96813. A $5 payment is required for the copy and postage.

Copies will be mailed at no cost to swimming pool permit holders who ask for them.

Those wishing to comment are asked to submit written statements, either at the hearings or mailed to the Sanitation Branch before Feb. 9.

Testimony may also be faxed to 808-596-4729.

The proposed rules may be reviewed from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sanitation Branch offices in Honolulu and Kealakekua, Hawaii, and the DOH Environmental Health Services Offices on Kauai, Maui and in Hilo. The rules are also available at public libraries.



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