Surfrider Foundation: ongoing elevated bacteria count at Kahului Harbor and Waioka
Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force program released its water quality report for October 2022. The citizen science water quality testing program found elevated bacteria levels at two Maui sites.
Kahului Harbor in Central Maui, and Waioka “Venus Pool” in East Maui both had medium levels of Enterococcus bacteria (36 – 129 MPN/100 ml), according to the report.
The Kahului sample was taken on Oct. 12, and showed levels of 52 MPN/100 ml. Bacteria counts have been elevated at the location since testing in mid-July.
The Waioka report showed 63 MPN/100 ml of Enterococcus bacteria. Four of the last six samples showed elevated costs, with a high level reported in April.
Surfrider Foundation Maui volunteers collect samples from 18 different sites along Maui’s North Shore. Samples are then taken to the Marine Biology Department at the University of Hawai’i Maui College for testing of enterococcus fecal indicator bacteria.
The task force then publishes the results on the Surfrider Foundation website after lab tests are processed. The goal is to ensure the public is aware of bacteria levels and to make an informed decision regarding water entry.
Elevated levels of Enterococcus increase the likelihood that other pathogens that can make people sick may be present, according to the organization.
The Surfrider Foundation, Maui Chapter launched its BWTF program in 2017. The water quality information generated by the BWTF augments the data that the HDOH provides through its beach water quality monitoring program.
HDOH services test only a specific number of beaches on Maui, primarily those with lifeguards and in popular tourist areas, while the BWTF covers a variety of areas popular with recreational users including surf spots and local bathing beaches.
Community members are encouraged to check water quality results posted online before they head to the beach at https://bwtf.surfrider.org/explore/51.