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0 Mysterious plume blankets Kewalo Basin, Honolulu

A mysterious cloudy substance is emptying into Kewalo Basin from a storm drain at an alarming rate. 

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. 

"There's just no question we don't want any type of discharges that would impact the marine life," said Barclay. 

The cloudy substance that blanketed the harbor made its way to the ocean where unsuspecting surfers, fishermen and divers had already started their day. 

"We noticed the signs when we came in," said surfer Kraig Kina 

"We need to know what it is, would be nice so it's safe for the people surf and fish yeah," added surfer Eddie Amaral. 

"Sample it and get to the bottom of it you know the deal. It shouldn't be too hard," said St. Romain. 

The state Department of Health has gathered samples of the water emptying into Kewalo Basin and determined that it is fresh water. State officials believe the water is mixing with silt and coral which is producing the white color. The source still remains a mystery. 

"I do want it stopped," said Barclay. "It impacts our harbor, it impacts the quality of the boating experience, impacts the surfers and all the other ocean recreational users."


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