Mysterious plume blankets Kewalo Basin in Honolulu, Hawaii – March 1, 2012
The mystery plume started pouring into Kewalo Basin before sunrise.
“It was like 5:30 in the morning and I was standing here and then all of a sudden it came all at one time,” said Robert St. Romain of Sashimi Fishing Tours. At first light he and other boat owners were stunned by the free flowing plume that turned the water white. “Just was coming out here like crazy just like you see it right now and it muddied the whole harbor in a matter of five minutes.”
“The whole harbor was just glazed over usually you can see down,” said a boater.
And it kept coming hundreds of gallons of milky brown fluid every minute.
“That storm drain is capable of close to a million gallons a day of water coming through,” said Kewalo Basin Harbor Master Charles Barclay. He said he’s never seen anything like this. “If it was a sewage discharge or if it was an oil discharge we’d smell it but this is a siltation.”
“Obviously it’s not oil because you don’t see any slick on top,” said boater Michael de Jong.
“I don’t know what else it might be. Do you have anything further?” asked Barclay.
About a dozen state and city officials were on the scene. Everyone was baffled by the source. City crews visited numerous construction sites and checked for broken water mains but found no clues.
“The storm water drain where it’s coming out of connects to an artesian well up by the Blaisdell Center,” said Barclay. He said this is one of 37 storm drains in Kewalo Basin. But this particular drainage was seldom source of storm runoff and the rains weren’t heavy over-night.
“Some floating fish.”
Barclay says boat owners reported seeing dead fish in the harbor which is home to stingrays, hammerhead sharks and turtles and an occasional visit from monk seals.
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