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Identifying Sources of Contamination in Hanalei Bay

Contamination found in Nawiliwili Bay and Hanalei Bay

In 2012, the DOH worked with Stanford University and the U.S. Geological Survey to identify the sources of fecal indicator bacteria in the waters of Nawiliwili and Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai. In addition to using a genetic technique called quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to identify the species responsible for the bacteria found in bay waters, water samples will be analyzed for pharmaceutical and waste indicator compounds using USGS Schedule 2080 and 4433 respectively.

With emphasis on two human pharmaceuticals, carbamazepine (an anticonvulsant) and sulfamethoxazole (an antibiotic)that has shown up at other beaches in Hawaii. These pharmaceuticals are present in wastewater but are not destroyed during wastewater treatment, so detecting them indicates the presence of wastewater effluent. As part of this project, the Kauai chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has assisted with biweekly water sampling for nutrients and weekly sampling for fecal indicator bacteria in the Hanalei Bay watershed.

Surfrider has been collecting samples from nine sites in the watershed, and its data will be used to complement the pharmaceutical data and the information gathered about the fecal indicator bacteria in Nawiliwili Bay. Pharmaceutical sampling has been completed and data received from USGS. Genetic sampling has been completed and should be receiving final sampling genetic data soon. A report will be completed in February 2014.


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