By: Janelle Guerrero
HNN Summer Intern
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii State Department of Health is posting warning signs on Keehi Lagoon on Oahu and Waiopili Stream on Kauai, warning the public of potential health risks of entering the water.
The signs posted in both areas notify the public to use caution before entering the water for recreational purposes. While bacteria levels may be higher than the usual standard, officials say that the water conditions of Keehi Lagoon have always been this way and not necessarily the result of Tropical Storm Darby.
"We just want to emphasize that this doesn't represent a change in the conditions of Keehi Lagoon," said Stuart Yamada of the Department of Health. "They exceed the recreational water standards but this is the norm."
"If they've recreated in waters before, it's probably not a big deal," he said.
The posting of warning signs are based on the results of samples that were taken from the water on Wednesday.
Officials are urging children, elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or open wounds to not go in the water. They are prone to illnesses or infections if they swim in polluted water.
Those who are already using the lagoon for recreational purposes are already taking precautionary measures.
"They're planning to have little wading pools with low-levels of chlorinated water so people can step in and kind of disinfect their feet," Yamada said. "And they're instructing everyone to shower off which is always a good idea."
DOH and the EPA will work together to improve the monitoring of Hawaii's recreational waters and public notification of posting warning signs in recreational waters when bacteria levels exceed standards.