Saturday, June 3, 2023
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, November 4, 2017
DoH Website Reports Beach Water Quality
By News Release @ 4:05 AM :: 5281 Views :: Environment, Hawaii Statistics, Tourism


Upgrades provide easier navigation and more information

News Release from Hawaii Dep’t of Health November 3, 2017

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Clean Water Branch has developed a newly upgraded website that gives the public access to up-to-date information — integrated with aerial photos from Google maps — to check on the status of the water quality of beaches that may have a surge in bacteria levels or are being impacted by sewage spills. This website is part of a revised statewide beach monitoring and notification system.

The new features and functions of the website (, developed in part from a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), were based on feedback from those within the health department as well as external stakeholders. The website is part of an integrated notification system that includes warning signs posted at selected beaches throughout the state.

“This was a collaborative effort within the Department of Health and with others in the community,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of environmental health. “The input we received allowed us to develop a much more robust beach monitoring and notification system that will serve as a valuable tool for the community.” Kawaoka noted the website upgrade is part of a larger, more comprehensive program to eliminate manual processes and automate data analysis. “This is just the beginning; there’s more to come,” he said. “In the future, we’ll be able to use the data to improve efficiency in the beach warning notification system and use the data for other purposes.”

For example, once it is fully optimized, the new system will automatically generate the advisory text with the location details. The system will alert the Clean Water Branch staff of the pending advisory so it can be reviewed and submitted with one click. With the current system, CWB staff must manually input the advisory and location details and manually transmit the email notifications. In addition, the information on the website and the email notifications are part of two different systems. The new system will make all advisory text consistent and integrate email notifications and website information in a single system.

“The State of Hawaii has taken an important step to ensure public safety by promptly notifying the public about potential human health risks and improving access to beach monitoring data,” said Tomas Torres, Director of the Water Division at EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “The DOH’s partnership with Surfrider and other stakeholders exemplifies a notable bottom-up collaboration that results in tangible human health and environmental protection for residents and visitors in Hawaii.”


In 2000, the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act became an amendment to the federal Clean Water Act, establishing national standard criteria for coastal recreational water monitoring and public notification of possible pollution at beaches. As an eligible coastal state, Hawaii receives an annual EPA BEACH Act grant to implement the BEACH program. For this new federal fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2017, the Department of Health received $265,000 from the EPA to operate the statewide program.

The Hawaii Department of Health Clean Water Branch is required to establish a beach monitoring program and to provide public notification whenever indicator bacteria levels exceed a specified threshold level. This includes beach advisories for beaches that experience temporary or permanent elevations of bacteria, sewage spills, or brown water advisories following rainy weather that cause runoff to the beaches. The website complements the physical posting of signs on the beaches and the onsite notifications by the county lifeguards.

“This new website allows us to give accurate and timely information to Hawaii’s visitor industry,” said Bob Hampton, chairman of the board, Waikiki Beach Activities. “The maps show visitors who are thinking about vacationing in Hawaii how water quality concerns are limited to a specific beach and do not affect the entire island. The closure notifications that an advisory is no longer active also gives an all-clear assurance to visitors that it is OK to enjoy the beach.”

Features of New Website The new site provides a number of features and functions. Viewers are now able to subscribe to email updates on all beach advisories to receive on their computers or mobile devices. As part of the public notification system, the website offers the ability to:

  • See a quick overview of all active advisories in a single list;

  • Click on a pin icon on the map of the Hawaiian Islands to view details from a specific advisory;

  • See the types of warning signs posted at a beach and specific locations where they are posted on the beach;

  • View any documents, pictures, or files of beach posted by the Clean Water Branch team; and

  • Receive notifications when an advisory is closed and no longer active.

Media and others interested in conducting research on a specific beach are able to:

  • Sort advisories by island or their status, whether they are active or closed;

  • View, in table form, all current and past advisories, the type of advisories that were issued, and the island; and

  • Download advisory information into an Excel file.

In the future, the new system will allow users to:

  • Select the type of advisories they wish to receive;

  • Select the specific island for which an advisory is posted; and

  • Opt to receive text messaging for advisories.

# # #

HNN: New state site aimed at getting information on water quality out more quickly


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii