The Blue Water Task Force is Surfrider’s volunteer water quality monitoring program that provides critical water quality information to protect public health at the beach. Surfrider chapters use this program to raise awareness of local pollution problems and to bring together communities to implement solutions.
Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) labs measure fecal indicator bacteria levels in recreational waters and compare them to water quality standards set to protect public health. Chapter-run BWTF programs fill in the gaps and extend the coverage of agency-run beach monitoring programs by sampling ocean and bay beaches, estuaries and potential freshwater sources of pollution such as stormwater outlets, rivers and creeks that discharge onto the beach.
The Kauaʻi BWTF tested 24 streams, four times each, for both enterococcus and sucralose, an artificial sweetener used to indicate the presence of human sewage in waterways. All streams tested yielded bacteria counts that exceed the state health criteria for fecal indicator bacteria, while sucralose was detected in 19 of 24 streams tested. Sucralose was detected in at least 50% of the samples collected in 14 streams, indicating that these streams are contaminated with human sewage.
Surfrider sampling over the years has documented chronic levels of pollution at Hanamaulu stream, Nawiliwili stream at Kalapaki Bay, Niumalu Beach Park, and Waikomo stream at Koloa Landing. Waiopili Stream at Mahaulepu is 10 times more polluted with feces than the others above. We provide this data to the Hawaii Department of Health and the U.S. EPA, trying to get them to post warning signs at these spots and then take measures to stop the polluting.
If you would like to find out more, contact Dr. Carl J. Berg, Senior Scientist, Kauai Chapter: (808) 639-2968 or firstname.lastname@example.org