Hawaii has more than 400 public beaches stretching along nearly 300 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline. Its beachwater monitoring program is administered by the Clean Water Branch of the Hawaii Department of Health. The Oahu Chapter used to do its own testing but now works with the state to post its findings. For more info or to report a spill, go to: http://hawaii.gov/health/environmental/water/cleanwater/index.html or call the Clean Water Branch at 586-4309. We also work with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and their annual “Testing the Waters Report,” which rates our beaches and water quality monitoring: www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/sumhaw.pdf. Although Hawaii was rated #6th in beach water quality in 2008 (with only 2% of water samples exceeding national standards), this was partly due to the fact that it was a dry year without much rainfall. After heavy rains, it is recommended that people not go into the ocean for at least 24-48 hours because of all the polluted stormwater runoff that flows from our streets into the ocean. After 40 days of rain in 2006, 48 million gallons of raw sewage were discharged into Honolulu’s Ala Wai Canal, contaminating and closing beaches for weeks. Since then, the Oahu Chapter worked with city, state and federal representative and other environmental groups to set up a Wastewater Spill Committee to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
For more detailed info about water quality issues, go to:
HDOH Clean water branch advisories: http://emdweb.doh.hawaii.gov/cwb/wqd/viewer/
water quality data: http://emdweb.doh.hawaii.gov/CleanWaterBranch/WaterQualityData/default.aspx
Brown water contact info: http://hawaii.gov/health/environmental/water/cleanwater/contact/index.html
Please check out our friends at Hui o Ko`olaupoko. Their mission is to protect ocean health by restoring the `aina: mauka to makai.
Here is their Rain Garden Manual