Health Department “Heated Pond DOES NOT Have Unsafe Levels of Bacteria”

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation will reopen ‘Āhalanui Park after verifying that the park’s volcanically heated pond does not have unsafe levels of bacteria.

‘Āhalanui Park will reopen Friday morning

‘Āhalanui Park will reopen Friday morning

Swimmers will be welcomed back into the Puna park starting at 7 a.m. Friday, October 4.

The Hawai‘i Department of Health collected water samples from the hot pond and has determined the bacteria levels to be normal for safe swimming areas. The Department of Health has found no evidence to suggest that the pond water is contaminated.

After learning September 26 of media reports that the swimmer was hospitalized, Department of Parks and Recreation Director Clayton Honma took immediate action to close the park to ensure the public’s safety. The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks swimmers, park users and the general public for their patience and understanding while the temporary closure was in effect.

The Department of Health wishes to remind the public not to go swimming with an open cut. Signs posted in ‘Āhalanui Park warn against this activity. Open wounds, according to state health experts, should be kept clean, dry and covered to prevent infection, which can come from anywhere, including from bacteria that lives naturally on the human body.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or


2 Responses

  1. As a former Dept of Health employee who specialized in a program which focused on native Hawaiian women and pregnancies – we took great notice of a recent (1990’s – 200…) “fad” by several caucasian women (most of whom lived in the Puna area) to give birth in that pond….sort of a swim with the dolphins kind of thrill.

    When I questioned that practice I was told by several mid-wives that it was common practice of native Hawaiian women…….NOT!!!!

    I protested and reported this new practice to anyone who would listen….sure enough I started hearing of at least one person dying and others getting this flesh eating bacteria plus numerous people getting bitten by eels…all AFTER this birthing in this warm pond started….we always tell people to stay away from entering this pond for important health reasons.

    Do not swim there if you have an “open wound”? – What is an example of “an open wound”???? An open infected sore? A mosquito bite???? Nononono!!!!!!….I am telling you that this is NOT a safe pond to swim in!! Before this new practice of birthing in the pond became “the thing to do”….it was never an unsafe pond – it was clear with trillions of fish and no eels!! My children and I would go there often.

    Sadly, we do not visit there any longer….another INVASION and example of not following proper health and cultural protocol. ‘aue!! ‘Aue!!!!

  2. Aloha
    The Health Department needs to reveal the number of people who have fallen ill or died after experiencing infections after swimming at this park. The long term occurence of multiple deaths associated with this location should trigger a close retrospective examination of all the medical cases associated with this location since the pond opened. When questioned about a previous death the DOH employee asked, “who had told them of that particular death?”.

    I am sure there are other problematic locations where cesspolls tend to drain into swimming and recreational areas because on nearby cesspools.

    There is no transparency or sharing of important information with the public. Testing the pond can be done during periods of time when there has been rain is just like testing the output of incinerators when you know you have either repaired the system or only burned “clean” materials.

    Either we protect the health of the people of Hawaii or we can ignore the constitution. It is up to the Governor, Mayor and DOH to see the people are adequately protected. People are aware of health problems at the hot ponds. How we deal with the problem on the long term will affect how tourists feel about coming here and if they can feel they can safely bring their families here. Reasidents would also like to have accountable agencies that can be trusted to be open and proactive in dealing with public health threats.
    Bob Jacobson RN

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