Keehi Lagoon open for recreational and commercial activities

 UPDATED 10:20 AM HST Sep 22, 2013
HONOLULU -

The warning signs are gone.

After the 233,000 gallon Matson molasses spill last week, Keehi Lagoon was closed to recreational and commercial activity. Officials reopened the lagoon Saturday. Some canoe clubs say they're glad they can get back to practicing since they lost critical training time.

"The water looks a lot better because last week you could see the mark in the water where the molasses was," said Keali'i Paiaina with Healani Canoe Club.

According to the DLNR, the molasses is causing severe environmental effects that will be long term. The lagoon was closed because biologists said the nutrient rich molasses could cause an unusual increase in the growth of harmful bacteria. Also, with more than 25,000 dead fish in the water, they believed there would be an increase in sharks and barracudas.

Even though the warning signs have come down, people are still questioning whether it's safe to get back in the lagoon.

"They told our head coaches we are not to go in the water because they found out the kind of bacteria in there was a kind of flesh eating bacteria," said Marcus Dacanay with New Hope Canoe Club.

"It kind of gets me scared because I'm not sure if its dirty, if it's contaminated, it makes a lot of people scared," said paddler Llani Sonan.

So, some sat out and watched while others get back into the water. They said they'll give it a couple more days before they take DLNR's word that it is now safe to jump in. State agencies say oxygen levels in the water are almost back to normal.

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