Health Officials Warn of Dangers Lurking in Sewage Laden Waters

Norman Soroyama
Norman Soroyama
Helene Philips
Helene Philips

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Warning signs saying the water is polluted with raw sewage have been posted around Magic Island and Ala Wai Yacht Harbor.

The State Department of Health and Environmental Services tested the ocean from Diamond Head to Kewalo Basin Tuesday morning.

Health officials are planning to expand the testing of bacteria levels in the waters to Sand Island on Wednesday.

Despite the possible contamination, a few brave people went into the water, including Norman Sorayama. "I think if I shower after, I'm okay. You don't see me around, you know what happened!" said Soroyama.

Bacteria levels tested high in Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and Magic Island. A lifeguard was posted at Magic Island to tell people the beach is closed.

"Hopefully with a situation like this, I hate to wish rain on anyone. But it's helping in the situation," says Lt. Helene Phillips from Ocean Safety.

Although no warning signs have been posted at nearby Ala Moana Beach, lifeguards have been advising people the water could be contaminated.

"When people are coming up to us, we're advising them to swim at their own risk. We do have these conditions, there is a little bit of onshore wind. But right now its still open. So swim at your own risk," says Phillips.

As much as 10-million gallons of raw sewage is being pumped into the Ala Wai Canal, which leads into Magic Island then out to the ocean.

The sewage is being diverted from a 42-inch sewer line that ruptured Friday night. City officials say repairs should take a week.

In the meantime, the public is being advised to stay out of the water until the warning signs have been taken down.