Parts of the Kalapaki Beach have reopened after an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 gallons of treated sewage flowed into the waters following a power outage in the community's Lihue Wastewater Treatment Plant on May 16, according to the Honolulu Star-Adviser.
City officials were waiting to reopen the waters until bacteria levels were at a safe point, according to NBC affiliate KNHL. The eastern waters opened on May 22, however, there are still several areas that will remain closed until the tests come up negative for sewage debris. County Engineer Larry Dill told the source the primary concern was safety of the residents and tourists.
"Our main focus at this point is public health and safety," he said. "We understand and apologize for the inconvenience to our residents, visitors and surrounding business and we are working diligently to get the beach reopened as soon as it is prudent to do so."
The spill occurred after an internal circuit failed and a storm drain overflowed into the body of water. Since the spill, water treatment officials have signaled their intent to install an alarm system that will alert workers during any sort of power outages to avoid spills in the future.