Rule proposal addresses
natatorium circulation

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Water would need to circulate through an open-ended saltwater pool such as the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium at least three times a day, under new rules proposed by the state Department of Health.

The addition is the most significant change in a revised draft of rules for saltwater pools now under consideration. A public hearing is slated for 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Blaisdell Center exhibition hall's Oahu Room.

Deputy Health Director Gary Gill said the three-times-a-day "exchange" requirement was inserted to address concerns of the Kaimana Beach Coalition, which believes the rules ignore the issue of staphylococcus infection. Thrice-a-day circulation is standard for enclosed, chlorinated pools, Gill said.

James Bickerton, attorney for the coalition, said the new rules are an improvement.

Donna Ching of the Friends of the Natatorium said the Health Department is foot-dragging on the rule making. Today's engineering advances make the coalition's concerns moot, she said. The current draft "arbitrarily and capriciously" exempts saltwater venues other than the natatorium, thereby disregarding public health and safety.

A Circuit Court judge ruled in 1999 that the natatorium, as a public pool, is subject to Health Department regulation. Based on that ruling, Mayor Jeremy Harris halted work on the pool.

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