Is the water brown? Do you turn around, or jump right in?
UPDATE 5/31/18 The DOH-CWB issued the following statement today: ” The Water Quality Alert Notification for Cove Park, Maui has been cancelled. Water sample testing results show that the enterococci levels no longer exceed advisory levels. “
Does this mean it is now safe to recreate in these waters now? Our sources say not on your life. It means the quality is not as bad as it had been, not that it is safe. Protect yourself and your ohana.
UPDATE 5/24/18 Hawaii DOH-CWB issued an alert for Cove Park today:
The public is advised of a water quality exceedance of enterococci at Cove Park, Maui. Levels of 2005 per 100 mL have been detected during routine beach monitoring. The Department of Health Clean Water Branch provides beach monitoring and notification through its beach program. The advisory for this beach is posted because testing for enterococci indicate that potentially harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, or parasites may be present in the water. Swimming at beaches with pollution in the water may make you ill.
Children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely populations to develop illnesses or infections after coming into contact with polluted water, usually while swimming. Fortunately, while swimming-related illnesses can be unpleasant, they are usually not very serious – they require little or no treatment or get better quickly upon treatment, and they have no long-term health effects.
The most common illness associated with swimming in water polluted by fecal pathogens is gastroenteritis. It occurs in a variety of forms that can have one or more of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, headache or fever. Other minor illnesses associated with swimming include ear, eye, nose and throat infections. In highly polluted water, swimmers may occasionally be exposed to more serious diseases.
The State Board of Health – Clean Water Branch (DOH-CWB) issues regional warnings on their website http://health.hawaii.gov/cwb/ with the self descriptive name, Brown Water Alerts (BWA) to warn the public to stay out of the kai in an affected location because of health concerns. The reason for the alert seems to often be runoff from heavy rainstorms which contains earth (turning the near shore water brown), but also all manner of other material from pesticides, chemicals, pathogens, animal matter, trash and more
In addition to posting the warning on this State site, they also afford anyone the opportunity to be notified personally of alerts. Thus anyone can chose to be warned and to prudently remain out of the ocean in said area until a followup notice indicates the alert has been canceled.
So who would choose to sign up to receive such alerts? Would you expect any organization that caters to any level of water men and women, like canoe clubs and, swim teams? How about all these retail businesses who cater to our unknowing Maui visitors, surf schools, ocean activity rentals, snorkel shops and the like? How about our resorts and hotels? Certainly the Maui Visitors Bureau (MVB).
This is Maui, the land of aloha and being pono, so safeguarding the health and welfare of their members or customers is paramount, right? They know visitors do not look at this state website, so how else could they be aware.
Yet this season when our South Maui area has experienced a large increase in rain, runoff and these BWA’s, why do we encounter a great number of ocean users of all manner along the south shore? Do they choose to ignore the health warnings? Do parents not care about the welfare of their children? Or are these warnings purposely hidden from them because of greed? Do you believe this is acceptable?
Is yet another law necessary for our residents to do what is pono?