Waikiki Beach has reopened to the public following a massive sewage spill that occurred earlier this week.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, the famous Hawaii beach was closed on Monday after it was noticed that a brown liquid was entering the water.
Apparently, the island had been experiencing heavy rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Kilo, and to avoid flooding, someone had illegally opened the manholes, forcing the rainwater into them, which ultimately pushed the sewage into the ocean.
On Wednesday, Waikiki Beach reopened after water quality tests showed that the bacteria in the water had significantly decreased since the spill, ABC News reports. The deputy director of the state department of health, Keith Kawaoka, said he had given his agency the go ahead and authorized Honolulu to remove the warning signs from Waikiki and Ala Moana beaches.
“The indication is that the levels have come down dramatically from yesterday to indicate that we can open at least those beach areas,” Kawaoka said.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said reopening the four-mile stretch of beaches was of their top priority and had hoped to have the issue resolved within a couple of days, which they did.
“We recognize — both at the state and county level — in terms of our economy there’s nothing more important than Waikiki,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that this event was over and it’s over in basically two days and a little bit more.”
At the time, it was reported that 500,000 gallons of sewage had entered the water. However, Lori Kahikina, Honolulu’s director of environmental services, said that number was quite a bit lower, with 129,000 gallons of sewage flowing into the ocean. Another 264,000 gallons spilled on land but never actually reached the water.
Although Waikiki Beach has reopened, there are still several areas that officials are warning locals and tourists to steer clear from. The warning signs will remain at the Ala Wai and Kewalo boat harbors because the water quality tests still showed high levels of bacteria there.
“We will still do additional testing and monitoring in those areas,” Kawaoka said. “The public is advised to avoid contact with waters within the warning signs that are posted.”
Currently, the city is expected to see more heavy rainfall. On Tuesday, tropical storm Ignacio formed east of the Hawaiian Islands and is expected to soon become a hurricane.
[Photo via Shutterstock]