Hawaii Water Pollution, Air Quality Web Sites Offer Real Time Warnings

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Storm drain dirties ocean. (Photo courtesy of the Sierra Club)
Sierra Club

HONOLULU — Information about sewage spills, beach contamination, storm runoff and other sources of water pollution is now available statewide on an interactive map on the state Department of Health’s website at www.hawaii.gov/doh/waterquality.

The clickable map allows for more real-time info to get in the hands of the public 24/7. The goal is to ensure that the public remains safe by keeping them out of contaminated water, said Laurence Lau, DOH deputy director for Environmental Health.

“Water pollution often happens without warning and spills can’t be pulled out of the oceans or streams,” Lau said. “Because water pollution poses health risks, quick warnings are a priority for the department. Our goal is to provide faster, better access to current water pollution information. ”

The staff at the Clean Water Branch monitors events and posts maps and warning signs on the Web and at the site of the spill. To report pollution event call (808) 586-4309 or (808) 247-2191. Users can also sign up for RSS fees, a method to directly receive updated information that is available on the website.

NEW AIR QUALITY WEBSITE OFFERS UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION

HONOLULU —People looking to get up-to-date information on air quality in Hawai’i can now go to a newly launched Department of Health website that provides data from 13 Department of Health monitoring stations statewide at www.hawaii.gov/doh/airquality.  The website includes interactive maps and a color coded advisory system for conditions at each monitoring station.

The newly launched website is maintained by the state Department of Health Clean Air Branch and Environmental Health Services Analytical Branch.

“This website will provide timely and accessible air quality data to residents, as well as public health and safety officials on the Big Island,” said Laurence Lau, state Department of Health Deputy Director for Environmental Health. “The department has greatly improved the information technology needed to support the website.”

The color codes, from green to maroon, follow the national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality index (AQI) for showing air quality from good to hazardous. The department also provides up-to-date information specifically for Big Island sulfur dioxide levels at http://www.hiso2index.info/.

The current air quality monitoring sites, each measuring different pollutants, are located on the islands of Hawai’i, Maui and O’ahu.

Links to other air quality information can also be found on the Clean Air Branch website at http://hawaii.gov/health/environmental/air/cab/index.html.  For air quality data questions, contact the department’s Clean Air Branch at cab@doh.hawaii.gov or call (808) 586-4200. For technical questions about the website contact the Air Surveillance and Analysis section at airlab@doh.hawaii.gov or (808) 453-6620.

Submitted by Suzanne Roig, Public Health Emergency Preparedness, for DOH

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