Maui Sewage Scares Off Swimmers

Sol Morey
Sol Morey
Tom Barres
Tom Barres

(KHNL) - Some swimmers, surfers and fisherman on Maui complain tour boats are dumping sewage in and around Maalea Harbor.

Nothing can ruin a good day surfing like finding something gross in the water.

Sol Morey "There is enough of it coming out here in a consistent manner that I would say it's raw sewage."

Morey says he sees toilet paper in the mix.

"There is a lot kelp mixed in with it, lot of rubbish i don't want to mention what you see but you are out there in the sewage."

Another Maui viewer complained he found himself surrounded by sewage while swimming at a popular Kihei beach.

Morey blames the charters operating out of Maalea harbor.

"The tour boats. That's a good possibility. There is so much traffic they go down to Molokini and the current would bring everything toward this side. And if they are doing that, it's not going to get mixed up in the water it is going to stay afloat for a while. "

There are about 20 charter boats that operate out of this harbor.

Tour Boat Operator Tom Barres says the boat owners are good neighbors. "Now we started pumping out 2 times a week so we have 2 hundred gallon tanks on each side. On Tuesday and Friday we have a pump truck that comes down."

Legally ships can dump sewage three miles offshore but most chose to pump not dump.

Morey explains "We are doing what we can to keep the ocean clean that's where we live and play too."

The state and county help fund the pump truck for environmental reasons.

Boating enforcement officers say they've investigated many complaints of sewage in the water but it's very difficult to determine the source. Still surfers say they keep a sharp lookout.

Morey says, "I try to get in the water in the morning when it's glassy so i know what I see what's on the surface."

Some good news regarding this situation, harbor officials say they'll start construction on a permanent pumping station at Maalea Harbor next year.