Stream in Hawaii Was 1.2% Alcohol

Nearby liquor distributor was ordered to 'stop the discharge'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2021 12:18 PM CST
After Hiker Notices Smell, Stream Found to be 1.2% ABV
Cox says pollution of rivers and streams in Hawaii is "commonplace."   (Getty Images/Colleen Bradley)

Streams of alcohol have been trickling down the rocks not in the Big Rock Candy Mountains, but in Waipio, around 15 miles north of Honolulu, Hawaii. The stream was contaminated by runoff believed to be from Paradise Beverages, the state’s largest distributor of liquor and alcoholic beverages, which owns a nearby warehouse. Hawaii News Now reports that it had a water sample tested and the lab found it was 1.2% alcohol by volume, which Food & Wine describes as "a quarter of the way to Budweiser strength and certainly enough booze to get a slight buzz going."

The stream, which flows into a creek, is around 120 feet below a freeway. Local activist Carroll Cox tells the Washington Post that EnviroWatch, the nonprofit group he runs, was contacted by a hiker who noticed a "horrific" smell coming from the stream. He says that when he visited the scene with colleagues, "you would think it was a beer pub that hadn’t opened its doors for three or four days." Cox says the group alerted officials after noticing that a storm drain underneath the freeway was sending water down a cliff into a steam. The booze warehouse is on the other side of the freeway.

Anthony Rowe, Paradise Beverage's director of operations, told Hawaii News Now that the company is cooperating with authorities. Cox says he received an email the day after he filed the complaint that said the company "was directed to stop the discharge." He says that while he's pleased with the quick response from the government, this kind of issue is far too common in Hawaii, where there is a "lack of respect for the land and the water, even though we preach it." (More strange stuff stories.)

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