Heavy rains in Waikiki washed about half a million gallons of sewage water from manholes into the Hawaiian beaches, making them unfit for human use lately.
Hawaiian beaches were mostly empty on Tuesday since people were warned to keep out of the water due to sewage contamination, according to Fox News. In spite of warning signs, a few tourists were still found enjoying in the polluted beach waters.
Heavy rains poured on Monday washed about 50 million gallons of sewage water into the beaches, said Lori Kahikina, Honolulu’s director of environmental services. She also told the reporters that “Now’s not the time to go swimming,” according to the Associated Press.
Kahikina added that it might take few more days for the ocean water to become clear and therefore use of beaches could be delayed. She noted that it would take couple of days for the water sample safety test to be obtained as well.
Kahikina noted that witnesses reported that people opened the manhole covers for the storm water to drain into the sewage system. The sewage pipes and pumps are not designed to hold such large volumes of storm water which could have resulted in draining of sewage water into the ocean. She noted that it is illegal for one to open the manhole covers.
Sewage water is found to have come from Ala Moana Beach Park located near a shopping mall at the edge of Waikiki so people are advised to avoid entering the beaches around the 4-mile stretch from Kapahulu Avenue in Waikiki to Point Panic in Kakaako.
Shayne Enright, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Emergency Services, noted about Hawaiian beaches, saying, “We don’t know right now what is in the water. You could get a serious infection, get extremely sick or even worse.”
Meanwhile Central Pacific Hurricane Center Meteorologist Chevy Chevalier noted that tropical storm Ignacio is formed east of the Hawaiian Islands is expected to become a hurricane on Thursday. He added, “It’s an above-average year already, and we’re still just in August.”
Chevalier noted in an email to Fox news that “The reason for the forecast of an above average tropical season in the Pacific this year is El Nino conditions.
“El Nino typically brings this area above normal sea surface temperatures and less vertical wind shear, both of which normally lead to tropical cyclone intensification.”