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Letters 2-20-14

February 20, 2014 - 12:05am

Adding more moorings in Keauhou Bay threatens water quality

The proposal to add more moorings to Keauhou Bay is a bad idea for many reasons. From my perspective as an environmental scientist it is particularly bad.

Keauhou Bay is an impaired water body as defined by Section 303 (D) of the Clean Water Act, whether or not it has been officially declared by the state or the Environmental Protection Agency. The state has failed to properly file and has omitted data from its Impaired Waters Report to the EPA for at least the past six years.

The water quality in the bay fails local and federal standards for chlorophyll and nitrate.

Currently, Keauhou Bay is overly nourished from multiple sources of nutrients near shore and in the bay. It has algal blooms, impaired visibility in the inner sections of the bay but not the outer reaches.

This very clearly suggests that the water circulation in the inner bay is much less than that in the outer, thus allowing nutrients and pollutants to concentrate there.

All additional structures in the bay including docks, moorings and boats will further impede water circulation and hence contribute to additional water quality degradation.

The bay has no wastewater handling facilities for boats moored there. While it’s unlawful to discharge wastewater into the nearshore area; the law is unenforceable without a complete and very frequent chemical and microbiological testing regimen. No such regimen exists anywhere in the state.

Since this is a degraded water body, the law requires that no further degradation occur and that mitigation measures be implemented.

The Army Corps of Engineers would be remiss to allow any alterations of the bay until such time as the water quality is remediated and verifiable assurances can be made to prevent further degradation of the bay.

The Corps duty and mission is to protect the aquatic environment, thus a complete water quality investigation into the matter is essential if not legally required.

Richard Bennett, PhD

President, Applied Life Sciences LLC