Surfrider Foundation Blue Water Task Force Reports High Bacteria Levels at Five Maui Locations

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Surfrider Maui Launches Blue Water Task Force

According to samples taken on July 13 as part of a citizen science program conducted monthly by the Surfrider Foundation, five Maui sites have high levels of enterococci bacteria.

High levels were reported at: Wailuku Stream (4366), Haneoʻo (1152), Pāʻia Bay (545), Maliko Bay (226) and Kahului Harbor (181). The measurements represent the most probable number per 100 milliliters.

Wailuku Stream, which had the highest bacterial counts in the study this month, also had high counts three times in the last 12 months: in September and December 2021 and in June 2022. The samples were taken at the mouth of the Wailuku River in Paukūkalo.

Wailuku River. The sample was taken further downstream at the mouth of the river at Paukūkalo. PC: Photo from Public Works/FEA file

Although Pāʻia had the third highest level among 18 sites tested this month, this is the first time the location has reported high bacteria in the past 12 months. It is also the first time Kahului Harbor has shown high levels, although average levels were reported in December.

Maui Chapter volunteers collect samples from 18 different sites along Maui’s North Shore. They are teaming up with Professor Donna Brown and her marine biology students at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College to have samples processed in her lab to determine levels of fecal enterococci indicator bacteria.

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The goal of the study is to ensure the public is aware of bacteria levels so they can make informed decisions about entering the water.

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According to the latest report, medium levels of enterococci bacteria were reported at: Baldwin Beach, Kanahā Beach, Kūʻau Bay and Waioka.

Low levels were reported in July at the remaining sites including: Baby Beach, Hāmoa Beach, Hoʻokipa Beach Park E, Hoʻokipa Beach Park W, Kahului Treatment Plant, Kanahā – Kalialinui Stream, Mama’s Beach, Sugar Cove, Waiehu Stream, Waiheʻe Beach Park, and Hana Bay.

The Blue Water Task Force is the Surfrider Foundation’s citizen science water testing program that provides water quality information to protect public health at the beach. According to the organization, Surfrider chapters use this program to raise awareness of local pollution problems and unite communities to implement solutions.

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