FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 24, 2006
KUALOA BEACH GETS CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH
The state Department of Health is reopening the beach at the City’s Kualoa Regional Park after closing it almost six months ago because of high bacteria counts.
“This is good news for park goers. They can go back in the water again,” said Lester Chang, director of the City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The Health Department posted warning signs along Kualoa Beach last December after high bacteria counts were detected in the waters along the shore. The wastewater disposal system for the park’s restrooms – consisting of holding tanks and leach fields – was the suspected culprit and the City took immediate action, capping the leach lines.
However, bacteria counts remained at higher-than-acceptable levels until a few weeks ago and the beach remained closed. The Department of Health removed the warning signs yesterday.
It is still unclear what exactly caused the bacteria levels to rise last fall and then drop recently. Some suspect heavy rains in recent months may have flushed underground contamination away.
The administration has included $1,275,000 in its proposed budget for fiscal year 2007 for replacing the park’s wastewater system. That budget is now before the City Council.
Wastewater from the park’s restrooms is still being removed by pumper trucks. Because of that, the City has restricted its granting of permits for use of the park by large groups and some camping permits.
“Kualoa Regional Park is heavily used throughout the year,” said Chang. “It also has tremendous cultural significance as the site of an ancient Hawaiian burial ground. In recent years, its shoreline has eroded hundreds of feet, as have other Windward Oahu.
We’re glad the public can use the beach there again and we look forward to tackling the park’s other issues.”
Lester Chang, Director of Parks and Recreation, 692-5585
Bill Brennan, 527-6928