September 9, 2023

Unsafe Water Advisory reminder for Upper Kula

The County of Maui Department of Water Supply has completed two rounds of water testing with no results in those rounds exceeding applicable state or federal safe drinking water standards in areas of Kula. However, the Unsafe Water Advisory remains in effect pending the results of additional testing now underway.

This third round of testing must be completed and the water verified to be safe before the Unsafe Water Advisory may be amended for Kula water customers, in accordance with a process the Department of Water Supply developed with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The latest testing included water samples taken from inside numerous fire hydrants. Results showed the presence of lead attributed to water in those fire hydrants. Water pressure within the distribution system prevents the lead from migrating back into the system or reaching customersʻ homes and businesses. In an abundance of caution, the Department of Water Supply is flushing the fire hydrants to remove the contaminant and is conducting an additional round of testing to verify that the distribution system is free of lead and the water is safe to drink.

Pending receipt of these final results, the Department of Water Supply will examine the Unsafe Water Advisory and provide additional guidance on what affected communities may safely return to consuming their county water. Until the Unsafe Water Advisory is amended or canceled, affected Kula water customers are reminded to continue drinking only bottled water or using sterilized containers to fill water from county water tankers for consumption and hygiene needs.

A map that shows the UWA with links to all laboratory results by location is posted here.

The advisory was issued on August 11, 2023, as a precautionary measure due to the unknown impacts of the wildfires in the area. Those in the UWA area should follow the instructions outlined below. The water system outside of the advisory area has not been impacted by the fires.

Due to the Upper Kula wildfire, some structures in the Upper Kula water system were destroyed by the fire, and some areas in the water system lost pressure. These conditions may have caused harmful contaminants, including benzene and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), to enter the water system. As a precaution, the State of Hawaii Department of Health, and the County of Maui Department of Water Supply are advising residents of the affected area to not use the tap water for drinking and cooking until further notice.

In addition, residents are advised to:

  • Limit use of hot water
  • Limit shower time/bathing (use lukewarm water and ventilate area)
  • Use a dishwasher to wash dishes and use air dry setting
  • Wash clothing in cold water
  • Avoid using clothes dryers (dry laundry outdoors)
  • Do not take baths
  • Do not use hot tubs or swimming pools
  • Do not use ice from automatic ice makers
  • Use proper ventilation when using water indoors

Potable water is available Upcountry at Crater Road, Copp Road, Kula School near the cafeteria, Kula Community Center, Kula Lodge, Rice Park, Ching Store and Ulupalakua Ranch Store.

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