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No More Pollution in the Maha'ulepu Watershed

02 • 12 • 2019

No More Pollution in the Maha'ulepu Watershed

The Kauai Chapter is against a proposed dairy operation in the highly polluted Maha'ulepu watershed and instead wants the sources of pollution for the Waiopili Stream and Gillin's Beach found and fixed.

Water quality data from the Kauai Chapter's Blue Water Task Force program and the Hawaii Department of Health indicate severe and chronic pollution of the Waiopili Stream where it discharges onto Gillin's Beach in the rural watershed of Maha'ulepu watershed.  The stream which is influenced by the tide on the beach, shows high levels of nutrients and suspended solids and extremely high levels of fecal indicating bacteria.  In 2018, Surfrider's BWTF data showed an average enterococcus bacteria count of 8,228 in the stream and 560 in the receiving ocean waters at Gillin's Beach - both well above the state health standard of 130.

Despite this a proposal was submitted for a new diary operation with 600-2000 cows upstream of the beach.  The Kauai Chapter was against any new major source of nutrients and fecal pollution (manure) in the watershed before the existing pollution problem could be solved.  Ultimately, the applicant withdrew the proposal for the animal operation because of the unsurmountable waste management problem.

The Chapter is continuing to call for the existing sources of pollution to be identified and fixed and hopes to see locally-based organic food production happening on this site eventually as a good solution for the people of Kaua'i and the environment.