Kailua Bay gets
clean bill of health
for water activities

The state says it is safe for swimmers and boaters to return to Kailua Bay waters, after bacteria levels returned to normal for the first time in 12 days.

Kailua and Waimanalo beaches, plus Kaneohe Bay, had been posted with warnings about contamination from sewage spills after heavy rains Feb. 26-27. Additional sewage spills came with rain on March 2.

Postings at Waimanalo were removed Monday, based on improved water samples, while Kailua and Lanikai beaches, Kaneohe Bay, Kawa Stream, Enchanted Lakes and Kaelepulu Stream were approved for use yesterday by the state Department of Health.

Meanwhile, the city sent a diver with a video camera into a 5-foot-6-inch diameter sewer line on Sand Island last night, to try and find out why it broke Thursday morning, spilling almost 2 million gallons of raw sewage into Mamala Bay.

The diver will go through a manhole to get to the line, which is 19 feet underneath the Sand Island State Recreation Area, said Honolulu Environmental Services Director Frank Doyle.

Workers for the city and its contractor, Hawaiian Dredging, won't be able to dig to the outside of the damaged pipe for several days, Doyle said yesterday. The ground around the pipe, which has been grouted with cement, needs time to dry out, he said.

Warning signs are still posted as a precaution around Sand Island Park and Honolulu Harbor because of that spill. Monitoring is ongoing and signs will be taken down when bacteria levels return to normal, Health Department officials said.

Health Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials have said they will be reviewing sewage spill data to determine if the city could face fines for any of the spills.

On Oahu, sewage or chemical spills should be reported to the City and County at 523-4423.

Questions about the safety of standing water, brown water in coastal and inland areas, or beach closures can be directed to the Department of Health Clean Water Branch on Oahu during business hours at 586-4309.


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