Most of the famed beach fronting Waikiki was closed after heavy rains triggered a half-million-gallon sewage spill near Hawaii's world-famous tourist district, officials say. The beach area was closed yesterday after storm water flowed into the city's sewage system as a weather system linked to Tropical Storm Kilo dumped heavy rain on the islands. The inundation overwhelmed the sewage system, causing 500,000 gallons of wastewater to spew from manholes, says Honolulu's director of environmental services. "Now's not the time to go swimming," she says, advising that it will be another couple of days before the ocean is clean enough to enter.
The city is advising people to avoid a 4-mile stretch of waterfront from Kapahulu Avenue in Waikiki to Point Panic in Kakaako. Sewage came out of manholes at Ala Moana Beach Park, on a street fronting a shopping mall at the edge of Waikiki and a pumping station. A spokeswoman for the city's Department of Emergency Services cautions that the ocean is dangerous. "We don't know right now what is in the water," she says. "You could get a serious infection, get extremely sick, or even worse." The storm system has also caused flooding that has shut down schools, roads, and several city facilities in Honolulu. (Read more Waikiki stories.)