Kahaluu Beach Park closed till further notice

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KAILUA-KONA — Kahaluu Beach Park has been closed until further notice following the discharge of less than 100 gallons of wastewater onto the beach and beach waters, according to the state Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch.

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KAILUA-KONA — Kahaluu Beach Park has been closed until further notice following the discharge of less than 100 gallons of wastewater onto the beach and beach waters, according to the state Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch.

In the meantime, the public is asked to stay out of the water and obey warning signs posted around the area.

The park was closed soon after the discovery of a broken sewer cleanout found late Friday afternoon, according to a statement from the Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation. Cleanup work began shortly thereafter and the Clean Water Branch was also notified.

The Department of Parks and Recreation repaired the cleanout Friday evening and is currently assessing pipes in the area for potential further repairs.

Late Monday, the department said the park would be closed indefinitely.

“We are exercising an abundance of caution, so the park will be closed until further notice as we make sure the repair work is done and the water quality meets safety standards,” said Charmaine Kamaka, director of Parks and Recreation.

On Tuesday, access around the park remained closed off entirely, with posted signs that warned of contaminated water, and prohibited swimming, boating and fishing in the area.

Those warning signs will remain until the Clean Water Branch decides it is safe to remove them, according to Parks and Rec. That decision will be based on the results of testing that will be conducted after repairs finish.

“We want to reassure the public that every effort is being made to ensure the health and safety of the public we serve,” Kamaka said.

But while swimmers and sunbathers are being forced to turn elsewhere, the prolonged closure is hurting Kahaluu Bay Surf &Sea, located across the street from the park.

“We haven’t been doing surf lessons the entire time the park has been closed,” manager Jared Carman said on Tuesday.

The closure has been a pretty big hit to the store. Surf lessons are the store’s “bread and butter,” the manager said, along with surf rentals and snorkel gear. The bay’s geography makes it a great place for beginners learning how to surf, but as long as it’s closed, they can’t take customers out.

Because of that, they’ve had to reschedule lessons and reservations. But, Carman added, some of those reservations are tourists for whom rescheduling isn’t an option.

“We’ve lost so many — just straight up lost — reservations,” he said. “We reschedule if can, otherwise, it’s just …”

And while people can still come in and get rentals, he said, the shop is directing them to other surf spots.

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Meanwhile, he said, he’s trying to keep a positive outlook.

“For us, we try to look at the lighter side of it,” he said. “It’s the universe telling us to take a break.”

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