State investigates foul odor in Waialua

department of health over background

A foul smell that has been permeating the Waialua community appears to be gone.

Viewers told us about the odor, which seemed to be coming from an area near Waialua Elementary School.

We checked with the Department of Health, and a spokeswoman told us staff from the department’s Wastewater Branch went to investigate a complaint on Nov. 16 and 17.

According to the spokeswoman, the odors were “likely the result of a large fish kill” at a nearby shrimp farm. Workers were instructed to remove and dispose of the dead fish immediately.

We also checked in with the Department of Education after hearing reports of children becoming ill, however a spokeswoman told us no incidents were reported and no students were sent home.

On Wednesday, Nov. 23, DOH workers returned to the farm with the Department of Agriculture’s Aquaculture and Livestock branch to follow up.

Officials say no noxious odors were noted during the inspection. There was some residual water in the fish pond with a few decaying fish, but the odors were faint. Most of the dead fish had been bagged and removed from the site, and the smelly water was drained into an infiltration pond on the property. The infiltration pond was also inspected and no odors were noted.

Officials say staff walked different areas of the property, and no odors were observed. They also drove to Waialua Elementary School, but the office staff said there were no complaints of odors Wednesday.

Since the odors were not a wastewater issue, the Wastewater Branch did not have the authority to issue a citation.

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