Study says some sand could be dirtier than you think

Just this week in the Ala Moana Beach Park area more than 390,000 gallons of wastewater emptied into the ocean and that was not the only sewage spill on Oahu.

As health officials investigate the sewage spills, a study done by the University of Hawaii may have you think twice about playing in the sand.

Researchers say the study does not apply to every beach only places where ocean water or beaches have been contaminated by wastewater runoff.

Dr. Tao Yan, who led the recent study, says often times when both sand and water were tested after being contaminated from wastewater runoff, the sand would have 10 to 100 times more fecal matter than the water.

While ocean water kills most of the bacteria, Dr. Yan says it can live much longer in the sand.

“A take home message for everyone is if you see the water is contaminated don’t assume the sand is better,” said Dr. Yan. “Often times when you go to the beach and it is closed people continue to play in sand which may not be a good idea.”

Dr. Yan hopes the research will make it a priority to test not only water, but also sand after any major beach contaminations.

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