Beaches reopened

Updated 5:50 p.m.

Most of the Lahaina shoreline closed due to concerns about sewage seepage into the ocean was reopened Thursday afternoon, county officials said.

Shoreline access from Fleming Road and Honoapiilani Highway and Wahikuli Beach Park was closed Tuesday afternoon as a precaution following a force main sewer break. A contractor working in Wahikuli accidentally broke the line, triggering a call for residents in Lahaina to limit their discharges down their drains to limit sewage overflows.

The main was repaired that evening, and county officials said no wastewater flowed into the ocean. As a result, the shoreline was reopened.

However, tests of ocean water after the spill showed some levels of bacteria in the water, said Wastewater Reclamation Division Chief Eric Nakagawa.

As a result, shoreline access was once again closed Thursday morning as a precaution.

Following additional tests and consultation with the state Department of Health, bacteria levels were deemed not to be sewage-related, Nakagawa said. The tests would have shown a lot higher readings if the sewage had made it into the ocean, he indicated.

So, county officials re-opened the beaches and were taking signs down Thursday afternoon, he said.

Per the advice of the Health Department, beach closing signs were left up until this morning in an area around 136 Front Street, where a ditch usually flows into the ocean. The ditch is currently plugged with sand, which prevented sewage from flowing into the ocean, but the signs were left up as a precaution, said Nakagawa.

For more information about the beach closure, contact Nakagawa at 270-7422.