Medical Waste sightings subside, Oahu Water Warning Signs Removed

January 24, 2011, 8:14 AM HST · Updated January 24, 8:17 AM
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By Wendy Osher

The state Department of Health authorized the removal yesterday of “contaminated water” warning signs from west and south Oahu shorelines. Signs were posed from Kahe Point to the Ko Olina Lagoons after contaminated storm water and sterilized medical waste was swept from the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill during stormy weather and heavy rains on January 13, 2011. Sampling of the coastal waters has since came up normal for bacteria level content.

Generic runoff graphic courtesy Hawaii State Department of Health.

State Health officials say discharge of water into the storm drain system to reduce the size of the “lake” that had formed near the top of the landfill was stopped one week ago, at 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 16. The last report of medical waste found on the west Oahu shoreline was on Thursday, Jan. 20.

Although brown water conditions following the stormy weather have cleared significantly, silt, mud and debris that entered the ocean from storm channels around the island may be re-suspended by surf, tides and currents. According to health officials, plastics that enter the ocean can remain floating and intact for many years, and small amounts of material may continue to wash ashore for months.

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Findings should be immediately reported to Waste Management at (808) 668-2985.

(Supporting information courtesy Hawaii, State Department of Health)

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