Beachgoers continue to crowd Magic Island despite Ala Wai sewage spill

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Warning signs are still up at Magic Island two days after nearly 13,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the Ala Wai Canal. Yet despite the signs, some people say they unknowingly put themselves at risk.

People there tell KHON2 there’s confusion about when the signs were posted and exactly what areas were affected.

Forty-eight hours after a big sewage spill, visitors at Magic Island are wondering when they’ll know for sure if the water is safe.

“The water is definitely more murky than it usually is,” Heath Chung said.

Chung said he didn’t think much of the water until he saw a sign saying it was contaminated with sewage.

“We didn’t actually see any of the signs so we’d been fishing here for about 45 minutes before I finally noticed something on the tree and I went to go read it,” Chung said.

It’s the same for beachgoers at the Magic Island lagoon. Warning signs are posted outside the lagoon which make it appear as if it could be contaminated. A lifeguard was on duty and people were still swimming.

We asked “Are you a little bit unsure if it’s safe to be here? A visitor, who only wanted to be identified as Annette, said “I think it’s safe, I’m unsure though. I don’t think they’d have it open if it was not safe but I didn’t swallow any water.”

The city posted several signs up an down Magic Island warning of the danger but people we spoke with said they feel the signs are too far apart to be noticeable.

“I didn’t see any of the signs because they’re posted perhaps probably 80 yards apart,” Chung said.

The city Department of Environmental Services posted the warning signs. In an email, a department spokesman said the signs were placed similar to other spills in the same location. The spokesman also said if lifeguards were there at that time, they were notified.

Chung said bigger signs with a posted date would be helpful for future incidents.

“Perhaps something at the gate entry or something like that that would be pretty obvious but actually I didn’t see it,” he said.

Despite some uncertainty about the affected areas, the concern isn’t too high for some.

We asked “You’re willing to take the risk then?”

Annette said “Yeah. Probably no different from Sydney beaches.”

As for the city’s four-hour response to the spill, the spokesman said the lone overnight crew was out on another call and made it to the spill that ended up in Ala Wai after the first situation was taken care of.

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