Algae bloom discolors Kailua Bay

  • State health officials say an algae bloom in Kailua Bay has not exceeded levels necessary to warrant a water quality advisory. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • State health officials say an algae bloom in Kailua Bay has not exceeded levels necessary to warrant a water quality advisory. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • On Friday, a swath of Kailua Bay turned green by the bloom was visible between Niumalu and Kaiakeakua beaches, however, the Department of Health said the water remained safe. No signage was posted. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

State health officials say an algae bloom in Kailua Bay has not exceeded levels necessary to prompt a water quality advisory.

On Friday, a swath of the bay turned green by the bloom was visible between Niumalu and Kaiakeakua beaches, however, the Department of Health said the water remained safe. No signage was posted.

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“DOH routinely monitors the near shore area and we have not seen any recent exceedances from near shore samples. No advisories have been issued because we have not seen exceedances,” said Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health.

She said staff in Kona who went to check on the issue relayed that the problem seems to occur each spring in the offshore waters. She was unable to provide additional information as of press-time Friday.

Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management Director William Kucharski said Thursday the county was contacted about the possibility of a spill earlier this week. Crews checked the county sewer line using a remote control camera and found no sign of leaks.

“We’re not seeing any breaks in our line,” he said. “It’s not coming from our collection system.”

He said he plans to get a smaller camera in to check lateral lines, or connections to the county’s wastewater system.

Kucharski also apologized for not immediately contacting the Department of Health regarding the algae bloom until the newspaper reached out to him on Thursday. The department is solely the operator of the county’s wastewater system while the DOH is the regulatory agency.

“I should have pushed this and followed up and made sure the DOH knew,” he said. “This is on me. This is not on any of the wastewater people.”

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Calls regarding discharge into ocean waters should be made to the DOH, Kucharski explained.

“It sounds like an excuse, but the DOH has control over discharge that are illegal or improper,” he said.