Lahaina shoreline reopening after sewage spill into ocean

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 sewer main break. A contractor working in Wahikuli accidentally broke the line, triggering a call for residents in Lahaina to limit discharges down their drains to limit sewage overflows.

The main was repaired Tuesday evening, and county officials said that no wastewater had 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 reopened the beaches and were taking signs down Thursday afternoon, he said.

Per the advice of the Health Department, beach-closed signs were left up until this morning in an area around 136 Front St., 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, call Nakagawa at 270-7422.