DOH News Release: Ocean users urged to avoid waters near Kailua Wastewater Treatment Plant

Posted on May 5, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU, HI – The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) is advising the public to avoid waters near the City and County of Honolulu Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant’s ocean outfall due to elevated levels of enterococcus bacteria. The Water Quality Advisory includes Kailua Bay.


The City’s ongoing exceedances of the state’s permitted enterococcus bacteria limits are related to wastewater discharges from the Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. Enterococcus is a bacterium used as an indicator of waterborne pathogens.


The City documented wastewater discharges that exceed the bacteria limits in its state permit on 13 days beginning on April 8, and most recently on May 4. The highest exceedances, reported on April 28 and May 1, were over six times the limit set by DOH. The exceedances were first reported to DOH on April 9 and have occurred periodically since. DOH issued its Water Quality Advisory for each period of exceedances.


DOH will continue to oversee the City’s response to the ongoing discharge violations. Due to the location of the outfall and the high recreational use of Kailua Bay, DOH directed the City to post warning signs and to continue effluent and shoreline monitoring. Warning signs will remain up until DOH is confident that coastal waters have returned to normal and the City returns to compliance with effluent discharge limitations.


The public is advised to remain out of the affected waters until warning signs have been removed. Updates to the Water Quality Advisory will be posted here.


The City is authorized to discharge up to 15.25 million gallons a day of wastewater from the Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant to Kailua Bay, subject to discharge limitations set forth in the state issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, Permit No. HI0021296. Discharge limitations are set by the DOH to protect human and environmental health and minimize risk to the public. The City is legally obligated to comply with the terms, requirements, and provisions of the issued NPDES permit.




The public is advised to avoid the highlighted area due to elevated bacteria levels in effluent discharges from the Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant


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Media Contact:

Shawn Hamamoto


Department of Health

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (808) 586-4417

Cell: (808) 722-5380