Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Why Are Water Quality Reports Sent Out So Late?

July 13, 2015, 7:19 AM HST
* Updated July 19, 12:06 PM
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Water meter. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Water meter. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Aloha Mayor Arakawa:

Q: I received notification that the 2014 Drinking Water Quality Report would be posted today (June 29, 2015) at mauiwater.org/wqr_lowerkula. After reading the report, I have a few questions.

1. Why does it take two years to get a report published? The water sample date for lead was done in July 2013 and just published in this report. Why does it take so long?

2. Other testing was conducted in 2014 and just reported to the public today. Since there is no way of knowing if our water is safe until one to two years after we have consumed it, should we begin boiling our water to ensure safety?

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3. According to the letter that was sent out by the Department of Water Supply (date distributed was June 24, 2015), monitoring requirements were not met for the Lower Kula water system for the second quarter of 2014. How does this happen, and how can the county ensure the safety of the public/consumer?

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When it comes to public safety, the county cannot be behind in its monitoring and/or reporting. How will the county address these issues to better ensure the safety of its citizens?

A: First off I’d like to let everyone know that our Department of Water Supply water is very, very, very clean. We test our water five days a week, and if at any point during that testing we find something is wrong, we send out public notices immediately and take the appropriate action.

Maui County follows all requirements of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, which defines exactly what we have to test our water for and at what intervals. The Water Quality Report is published every year, covering the previous year, also as required by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

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Every now and then our test results show possibly unsafe water, and when that happens we issue “boil water” or “do not use” notices to the public. These notifications are rare and will go out to the public immediately, as soon as the department identifies the problem. Just to show you how rare, we only sent out two precautionary boil water notices in the last five years, one in 2011 and another in 2012, and only one boil water notice in 2008.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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