Waste system neglect should end at Kualoa
Prolonged contamination of the ocean has prompted the state Health Department to install permanent warning signs.
SINCE at least 1997, the city has been looking to construct a sewage system at Kualoa Regional Park, but has not done so for various reasons, including the possibility that the area contained Hawaiian burials.
Whether that issue was settled remains uncertain, but waste disposal improvements have stalled and don't appear to be a priority for the city.
They should be. Polluted conditions in the waters off Kualoa beach have continued for two months, constant enough for the state Department of Health to install permanent signs there, warning people not to swim, boat or fish in the area. "We do not see any short-term solution to this problem and the public needs to be protected," a department memo states.
The park's location on a low-lying peninsula engenders problems with the cesspools under three restrooms and with sewage seeping from a leach field near the shore, which are the chief suspects for the ocean contamination, though they haven't been pinpointed.
Sea water samples show bacteria that indicate presence of human or animal feces at alarmingly high levels, nearly nine times more than acceptable state standards.
Previous pollution problems have prompted the Health Department to test Kualoa's waters about two times a week for years. The city has been aware of the hazard and has closed a bathroom, capped pipes and closed the leach field. However, pollution levels have not dropped.
The beach park is popular among residents and tourists, some of whom are attracted to the area by the scenic view of Mokoli'i Island offshore and the Kualoa Ranch across the Kamehameha Highway.
With the Health Department poised to issue citations against the city, officials need to tackle the contamination issue quickly. Further delaying a fix will likely result in fines, but the main concern should be the health of residents, tourists and the environment.
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