HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.C.R. NO.

184

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO PRIORITIZE THE TESTING AND RESEARCHing OF the fecal indicator bacteria levels and any other POLLUTANTS of the BEACH SAND AT POKAI BAY ON OAHU'S LEEWARD COAST.

 

 

 


     WHEREAS, Pokai Bay is one of the most-visited ocean areas on Oahu's Leeward Coast because of its wide sandy beach and relatively calm waters; and

 

     WHEREAS, because it is protected by an offshore breakwater, Pokai Bay maintains calm conditions year-round, which makes it an ideal location for many ocean users, including swimmers, canoe paddlers, surfers, snorkelers, boaters, divers, and stand-up paddlers; and

 

     WHEREAS, despite Pokai Bay's pristine appearance of crystal-blue waters and white sand, it is sadly the site of pollution from multiple sources, including runoff from surrounding surfaces, illegal dumping, and user-induced contaminants; and

 

     WHEREAS, over the last decade, beach users and local community members have reported the presence of health and environmental hazards at Pokai Bay; and

 

     WHEREAS, water runoff containing industrial pollutants washed from local surface streets, parking lots, and sidewalks, as well as petrochemical-based pollutants caused by vehicular use of an adjacent boat ramp, are suspected sources of tar balls that have been found on the beach; and

 

     WHEREAS, historically, illegal dumping of dredging materials and other substances have occurred at higher rates along the Leeward Coast, including at Pokai Bay, than at other locations on Oahu; and

 

     WHEREAS, the significant use of Leeward Coast beaches for camping and associated activities of daily life by homeless persons, such as bathing, are suspected of having introduced higher than normal levels of bacteria to the sand and waters at Pokai Bay, resulting in a rash of staph infections and other health problems among regular beach users; and

 

     WHEREAS, a 2015 study by professors and researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering found that beach sand holds more fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) than seawater; and

 

     WHEREAS, based upon the results of this study, the beach sand at Pokai Bay may be found to retain pollutants from the restroom facilities in the area, specifically rinse-off from the showers and fecal bacteria from toilet plumbing; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Department of Health has the supplies to test seawater, and occasionally tests the seawater in Pokai Bay specifically for FIB, which decays at a slower rate than beach sand; now, therefore,

 

     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the Senate concurring, that the Department of Health is urged to prioritize the testing and researching of the FIB levels and any other pollutants of the beach sand at Pokai Bay on Oahu's Leeward Coast; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that testing and researching the FIB levels and any other pollutants in beach sand at Pokai Bay is urged to become a priority of the Department of Health's non-point source pollution program; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Health is urged to develop a plan to increase water circulation at Pokai Bay to improve water quality and mitigate environmental and health risks caused by pollution and contaminants in the water; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Health is requested to collaborate with other appropriate state and county agencies to develop the plan to increase water circulation; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Health is requested to submit a report of its collaborative activities, including significant findings, cost estimates, and any proposed legislation to increase water circulation at Pokai Bay, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that based upon the Department of Health's testing and research of FIB in the beach sand at Pokai Bay, the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation is requested to prioritize renovations of the restroom facilities at Pokai Bay; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Director of Health and Director of the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title: 

Pokai Bay; DOH; Water Quality; Pollution; Parks and Recreation