FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 4, 2006
WAIKIKI BEACHES REOPEN; WARNING SIGNS
City Department of Environmental Services crews this afternoon will remove the more than 50 contaminated water warning signs that have been posted on Waikiki Beach between the Ilikai helipad parking lot and the Sheraton Moana Surfrider.
A drop in bacteria counts in the shoreline waters prompted the state Department of Health to lift its orders that closed that stretch of beach. Signs were posted and the beach closed at Duke Kahanamoku Beach fronting the Hilton and Fort DeRussy Beach fronting the Hale Koa since last Wednesday after water samples showed high bacteria counts. On Sunday, the state Department of Health ordered more signs posted and the beach closed from the Hale Koa to the Moana.
Signs are being removed from the Hilton Lagoon as well. Warning signs remain posted at the Ilikai helipad parking lot, to warn surfers that the surf breaks from Kaiser’s to Ala Moana Bowls should still be avoided. Warning signs are also still posted at the Magic Island Lagoon and along Ala Wai Canal.
The signs were posted after the March 24 rupture of a pressurized sewer main under Kaiolu Street in Waikiki. Some wastewater spilled from the rupture. In order to repair the 42-inch pipe, untreated wastewater was discharged into the Ala Wai Canal from March 26 to March 29. Heavy rain since then, including Friday’s destructive deluge, washed debris into the Ala Wai and the ocean. Prior to Friday, bacteria counts in the area appeared to be dropping off.
The City has been collecting water samples from spots along the Ala Wai Canal and 12 shoreline locations from Makalei Beach near Diamond Head to Point Panic at Kewalo Basin daily since the main broke. The samples are analyzed in a laboratory – a process that takes 24 hours – and the results are given to the state Department of Health on a daily basis.
Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767
Bill Brennan, 527-6928