Project Report PR-95-05
Benthic Sampling Adjacent to the Waianae Ocean Outfall, Oahu, Hawaii, May 1994
Anthony R. Russo, E. Alison Kay, Julie H. Bailey – Brock, and William J. Cooke
In May 1994, bottom samples were collected by scuba divers near the Waianae Ocean Outfall at a depth of approximately 33 m. The Waianae outfall is located on the leeward side of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The six sampling stations chosen were (1) Station Z, located in the zone of initial dilution (ZID) at the diffuser; (2) Station ZE, located on the southeast boundary of the ZID, about 30 m from the diffuser; (3) Station ZW, located about 60 m southwest of the diffuser; (4) Station W1, located about 2.5 km southeast of the diffuser; (5) Station W2, located about 1.0 km southeast of the diffuser; and (6) Station W9, located about 2.5 km northwest of the diffuser. The bottom at all stations was comprised of more than 90% fine to coarse sand. Station W1 had the coarsest sediments with a relatively high percentage of coral rubble. Oxidation-reduction potential and total volatile solid measurements indicated a nonreducing benthic environment at all stations. A total of 5,463 nonmollusk individuals representing 152 taxa and 8,007 mollusk individuals representing 133 species were recorded. The sediments around the outfall were rich in nematode, oligochaete, polychaete, crustacean, and molluscan fauna. Polychaetes represented 32% (78 species) and crustaceans 18% (53 taxa) of total nonmollusk abundance. Gastropods comprised more than 90% of total molluscan fauna. The highest abundance of nonmollusks was recorded at ZID station ZE and the lowest at Station W9. Nonmollusk taxa richness was greatest at Station W2, followed by Station Z, and least at Station ZW, followed by Station W9. Species richness for the mollusk component was highest at Station ZE and lowest at Station Z. Highest mollusk abundance was recorded at far-field Station W1 and lowest at Station W2. The species composition of all faunal components was generally similar at all stations. Stations Z and ZW were most similar in nonmollusk taxa composition, and Stations W9 and ZE, as a group, were most dissimilar to the remaining stations. From 1993 to 1994, there was an increase in nonmollusk taxa richness at Stations W1, W2, and ZE and a decrease at Stations Z, ZW, and W9. From 1989 to 1993 the ZID and non-ZID station groups showed parallel shifts in nonmollusk taxa richness, whereas in 1994 non-ZID station group values increased and ZID station group values decreased, such that the values for the two groups converged. Mean nonmollusk abundance shifted similarly for ZID and non-ZID station groups among the years of survey, except in 1993 when there was a decrease for the non-ZID station group relative to the ZID station group. In 1994 nonmollusk abundance values for the two groups converged. In 1994 total volatile solids and total organic carbon concentrations in the sediments near the outfall discharge were low and comparable to background levels at the reference stations. At all stations the sediment was oxygen-rich, as indicated by positive oxidation-reduction potential readings. Mean species richness between ZID and non-ZID station groups was not statistically different. Cluster analysis indicated there was no pattern or grouping of stations, according to species composition, which showed an interaction with the sewage discharge. Near the outfall discharge, no large increase in abundance was found among some species relative to others; the equitability of relative abundances was high at all stations. There was no large decrease in species diversity at stations near the diffuser, as predicted by the Pearson – Rosenberg pollution model. Thus all of the results of the 1994 Waianae benthic study, taken together, indicate that no deleterious effect occurs on the biologically indigenous populations near the outfall from sewage discharge.