Nuuanu Stream runs chocolate brown after Board of Water Supply reservoir work

Nuuanu residents raise alarms about stream runoff

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Health Department has issued a brown water advisory and is investigating muddy runoff that’s polluting the Nuuanu Stream.

Area residents said the stream is being polluted by millions of gallons of chocolate brown water from the Board of Water Supply’s largest reservoir in Nuuanu.

“Really, upsetting. They’re polluting, pretty much polluting the river. You can’t even swim back there," said longtime Nuuanu resident Vance Roberts.

“Even when it rains it doesn’t get this dirty, this brown ― not once in my 45 years here.”

The dark runoff runs the entire length of the Nuuanu Stream from the board’s Nuuanu Reservoir 4, along the Judd Trail and through the popular Jackass Ginger watering hole.

It flows through residential areas and Chinatown before emptying into the ocean.

The Board of Water Supply said it was conducting work on an outlet gate on the reservoir last week when the gate became stuck, allowing the muddy water to flow into the stream.

It said the work was necessary to lower the level of the reservoir to prevent flooding.

The silt has filled nearby koi ponds, killing most of the fish. One property spent hours this past weekend shoveling the silt from his pond, to little avail.

His prized koi can be seen from a nearby bridge gasping to survive.

Environmental watchdog Carroll Cox said the silt can harm the stream’s wildlife and plants for years.

“This is an ecological nightmare ... manufactured by a government entity," he said.

The water board said any residents who suffered damages can file a claim by calling 748-5182.

It said it is now trying to repair the gate but doesn’t know how long it will take. Until then, the brown water will continue to flow.

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