Brown water advisories caution residents, visitors of contamination

A lot of folks spent their Black Friday down by the ocean instead of at the mall. But all this week, a brown water advisory has been in place for Oahu. So what should you be on the lookout for, and how do you stay safe?

The Iolani School girls paddling team christened a new boat Friday, a donation that adds to their fleet.

Even though there was no practice, head coach Lily Bender said she always checks water conditions before they paddle out. “We take a look at where the brown water is specifically and it’s usually at the water outflows, so like the Ala Wai Canal in the harbor on that side, and we just take a look at the water to see what direction it’s going in and you can kind of tell, because it is brown and sometimes it has a smell and you can see a lot of debris in the water.”

Warning signs are up because of the contaminated water — water that can end up in places like beaches where people are swimming during the day.

Canadian visitor Chris Francki said even though he heard about a brown water advisory this weekend, he still wanted more information.

“I think it would be good if we were informed,” he said. “We all come here because it’s paradise, so we think jump in the ocean and have a good time.”

At Kewalo Basin, a lot of surfers were out in the water. Nicole Rodrigues has been surfing most of her life and said she uses apps like Surfline to check water conditions.

That’s why she stayed away most of this week. “I don’t come out just because I don’t want to get sick,” she said, “because a couple of my friends, when they had the big sewage spill, they got sick in Waikiki.”

To see current brown water advisories in the state, click here.

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