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WRRCTR No.59 Water Quality of Kapalama Canal

Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Publication Date
  • Kapalama Canal
  • Honolulu
  • Honolulu (Hawaii)
  • Water -- Pollution -- Hawaii -- Oahu.
  • Water Quality -- Hawaii -- Oahu.


A water quality survey of the Kapalama Canal was undertaken in 1970 - 1971 to obtain baseline data for evaluation of the pollution potential of that surface drainage channel. The survey included the stretch of canal between the residential area below School Street to the tidal waters downstream of the pineapple canneries effluent discharge ditch. Chemical and bacteriological characteristics of the Canal were assessed through the measurement of the following parameters: pH, DO, alkalinity, hardness, chlorides, total solids, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, BOD5, total coliforms, fecal coliforms, fecal streptococci and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Results of the survey show that levels of all parameters except pH and alkalinity increased in a downstream direction with high levels particularly noted downstream of the tidal dam, probably due to the effects of effluent discharge from the pineapple canneries outfall ditch. A significant diluting effect was noted during periods of wet weather streamflow. The state water quality standards were exceeded for several parameters: pH, DO, nitrogen and phosphorus in the Class A waters, and total coliforms in both the Class A and Class 2 waters. The average FC:FS and FC:TC ratios for the Class 2 waters were 5.2:1 and 0.25:1, respectively. The high FC:FS ratio indicates that human wastes as well as animal feces are entering Kapalama Canal. Pseudomonas aeruginosa organisms were found in the canal waters and were observed in densities greater than attributed to stormwater runoff in the literature.

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