Local Group Conducts Its Own Sand Tests - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Group Conducts Its Own Sand Tests

Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo
Omar Newland Omar Newland
Chiyomi Fukino Chiyomi Fukino

(KHNL) - A local, non-profit group is testing the sand at some Oahu beaches, checking for bacterial contamination.

Healthy Hawaii Coalition wants to see how safe the sand is following the sewage spill.

"The cleanliness of the sand is important to every person on the Island and our visitors," said Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo with the Healthy Hawaii Coalition.

This coalition is taking sand samples from 4 different areas at Ala Moana, Kailua and Waikiki beaches. They're sending it to a local lab, then waiting for a day or two for the results.

They'll be checking for two types of bacteria, the same ones that the State Health Department tests for in the water.

"I guess we're like everyone else here. We're hoping that over the weeks, the sun has done its job and everything is now, shall we say, safe," said visitor Omar Newland.

Since there are no standards for bacteria levels in sand, state officials don't know what this group will compare the results to. They just don't want people to worry.

"All the evidence that we have says the beaches are as safe now as they were before the sewage spills," said Chiyomi Fukino, State Health Dept. Director.

But this group says they won't be taking any chances and will make that call on their own.

"People are aware of the issue, so we want to get the tests done, it's an issue of public health and public safety," said Gabbard Tamayo.

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