KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - People who live alongside Keaahala Stream couldn't believe their eyes when they looked at the water Tuesday morning. It was a blanket of white.
"It looked like milk, like somebody had dumped a lot of milk," said Larry Lusk, who manages the Kauhale Beach Cove townhouses.
Up slope, the stream runs through residential and commercial areas. It flows into the Makani Kai Marina that feeds into Kaneohe Bay.
Several hours after residents first spotted it and the substance thinned out, the water was still discolored.
"Whatever came down, and I can't point fingers at anybody, but it's got to be a lot to make this water look this way," resident Clayton Iseke said.
An official with the state Department of Health's Clean Water Branch tells Hawaii News Now it could be paint or cement or something else that someone dumped down a storm drain.
Iseke said it's a concern because people fish from the pier.
"I don't know what's in that water and if it affects the fish," he said. "If somebody gets sick, what happens then? It's not a good thing."
"This stream is known for breeding tilapia, and all kinds of little bait fish come here to spawn. I'm really concerned that it might affect that in some way," Lusk said.
He also worries whatever turned the water white will settle in the silt and harm the ecosystem in the bay.
"Now it's in recovery. Little things like this just set it back," he said.
The state said the fine for illegal dumping in a waterway is up to $25,000 a day per violation.