The Hawaii Department of Health lifted the brown water advisory for Waimea Bay Friday. The advisory had been in effect for two days and was especially important for the popular beach park since the department knew of two cases in the past where people may have been infected by leptospirosis because of brown water.
When KHON2 questioned the department twice on whether it would post warning signs, officials refused to answer, relying instead on media reports and a post on its website. The department said that the lack of money and manpower prevented them from doing so.
While it was too late for Waimea, KHON2 caught up with the state health director, Dr. Linda Rosen, and asked her if the department would consider posting signs in the future. “It’s hard,” she said. “We can talk to the (city) lifeguards, for instance, whether they would include, whenever we issue a brown water advisory, that they, in turn, possibly do some signage.”
Dr. Rosen said the department is not just concerned with leptospirosis in brown water, but other kinds of infections like staph. She said she will soon have her department work with the city to come up with universal language for signs that would address the kinds of dangers posed when swimmers come across brown water.
While the advisory is lifted for Waimea, the department’s website still posts brown water warnings from Nawiliwili to Kealia Beach on Kauai and Honolua Bay on Maui.
KHON2 will continue to follow this story if and when signs are posted whenever brown water advisories are issued in the future.
Click here for current water contamination advisories from the Clean Water Branch.