East Hawaii News

Puna’s ‘Hot Pond’ Park Closed for Water Testing

September 26, 2013, 6:18 PM HST
* Updated September 26, 6:20 PM
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The county Department of Parks and Recreation closed Ahalanui Park today after a park-goer apparently became sick after swimming in its hot pond.

A spokesman for the department said the park will remain closed until testing of the pond’s water quality can be completed and county officials are sure that it falls within safety guidelines.

“Ensuring the health and safety of all park users remains the top priority of the Department of Parks and Recreation,” said spokesman Jason Armstrong. “In an abundance of caution, Director Clayton Honma took immediate action to close the park and request the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch test the pond’s water quality.”

Signs were placed at the park in 2002 warning that the geothermally heated water is not disinfected and that swimmers should not enter the water with open wounds because of the risk of bacterial infection.

The signs were put up at the request of the widow of a 72-year-old man who died in 2001, two days after going swimming at Ahalanui with sores from psoriasis – an immune disorder — on his legs.

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