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Last updated April 11, 2024

Water FAQ

If you see water leak on public or private property as the system is being tested, please call the 24-hour Water Operations Hotline (808) 270-7633.

Map of Unsafe Water Advisory Areas

Determine if your property is within an advisory area and view recent post-fire water sampling test results by searching your home or business address using the search bar in the interactive map below.

Map notes:

  • Orange areas on the map are included in the Unsafe Water Advisory Area. For parcels in green areas, the Unsafe Water Advisory has been lifted.
  • Upper Kula and Lahaina have been divided into distinct areas. This allows DWS to isolate one area from another and, by doing so, it allows each area to be removed from the advisory individually, once deemed safe to do so. Note: all areas of Upper Kula are no longer under the Advisory.

View map on full screen



UNSAFE WATER ADVISORY 
REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR LAHAINA
Lahaina L-4A and L-4E no longer included in Advisory

(Advisory last amended Feb. 16, 2024)

Summary: Due to the August 2023 wildfires in Upper Kula and Lahaina, some structures in the water system in both areas 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. The Maui County Department of Water Supply issued an Unsafe Water Advisory for parts of Lahaina and Upper Kula on Aug. 11, 2023, as a precautionary measure. The Department of Water Supply has been working closely with the Hawai‘i State Department of Health and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete its VOC investigation, isolate the system from fire damaged structures to ensure minimal potential from any contamination, and conduct ongoing water quality sampling and testing at key points throughout the system. From this process, the Department of Water Supply has been able to amend the advisory several times (including on Sept. 12, Oct. 6, Oct. 9, Oct. 13, Oct. 31, Nov. 21, Dec. 15, Dec. 21, 2023 and Jan. 19, Feb. 16, 2024) to remove some portions of Lahaina and ALL areas of Upper Kula from the  advisory. The advisory remains in place for the following areas of Lahaina until further notice: L-5 through L-6A. The State of Hawaii Department of Health, and the County of Maui Department of Water Supply advise residents of the affected area to not use the tap water for drinking and cooking until further notice.

--ADVISORY: DO NOT DRINK AND DO NOT BOIL YOUR WATER--

In areas L-5 and L-6 of the Lahaina Water System, the system is pressurized, and water is present, but it has not been confirmed to be safe for consumption. See information below regarding water use. Updates to this advisory will be provided based on monitoring results. For more information, call Water Utility Customer Service at (808) 270-7730.

  • DO NOT DRINK YOUR TAP WATER: Bottled water or potable water provided by DWS must be used for drinking (including making baby formula and juice), brushing teeth, making ice, and food preparation.
  • DO NOT TRY TO TREAT THE WATER YOURSELF: Boiling, freezing, filtering, adding chlorine or other disinfectants or letting water stand will not make the water safe. If volatile organic compound (VOC)contamination is suspected or detected, boiling water could release VOCs into the air.
  • Adhere to the following additional guidance:
  1. Do not use tap water for any consumptive purpose, including drinking, cooking, or brushing your teeth.
  2. Do not use ice from automatic ice makers.
  3. Use cold water to wash clothing or other items. Dry laundry outdoors.
  4. Take showers instead of baths.
  5. Limit shower time. Use lukewarm water and ventilate the area.
  6. Use a dishwasher to wash dishes. Turn it to the air dry setting.
  7. Do not use pools or hot tubs.
  8. Use proper ventilation when using water indoors.

Understanding sampling definitions:

To aid the public in better understanding the available post-fire water sampling test results, the following definitions are provided:

  • Method Detection Limit: refers to a minimum concentration of an analyte that can be measured above the instrument background noise. 
  • Reporting Limit: the minimum level above which an analyte can be detected and quantified with statistical confidence.
  • Instrument background noise: Instruments have detectors that convert any target analyte entering the detector into an electrical signal that can be measured. Using a calibration curve, this signal can be converted into a concentration. Instrument noise is due to the normal, random generation of electrical signal from sources other than the target analyte. Some causes are radiation, magnetic fields, loose connections or static. They have nothing to do with the specific sample being analyzed.
  • MCL: The maximum concentration level or (MCL) is the maximum concentration of a chemical that is allowed in public drinking water systems. The MCL is established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • μg/L: The symbol μg = microgram. One microgram is one millionth of a gram and one thousandth of a milligram. So if the MCL reads 2 μg/L that is 2 micrograms per liter. It is also referred to as parts per billion (ppb). 
  • ND: not detected.

ABOUT THE UNSAFE WATER ADVISORIES

Due to the August 2023 wildfire, some structures in the Upper Kula and Lahaina 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. Unsafe Water Advisories have been put in place while a VOC investigation is completed and water service is restored to all areas. As of Nov. 21, 2023, all of Upper Kula and Lahaina Areas L-1 through L-4A have been removed from the Advisory Area. Lahaina areas L-5 through L-6 remain under the Advisory until further notice.

RETURNING THE LAHAINA AND UPPER KULA WATER SYSTEMS TO SERVICE

DWS is working closely with Hawai‘i State Department of Health and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to return the water systems to service. These agencies are evaluating multiple lines of evidence including:

  • Containing sources of contamination and protecting the water system: Areas of the systems impacted by the fire are being isolated from the rest of the system. An investigation of system hydraulics is underway to ensure that the systems are protected from further contamination.
  • Ensuring source water and water within the distribution system is safe to drink: Extensive testing for volatile organic compounds, bacteria, and other contaminants is underway at many points throughout each water system. DWS may flush contamination from parts of the systems. The systems will be re-tested following flushing. Several rounds of testing will occur before the water advisories are amended.

Related documents:


EPA crews flush the lines before sampling

DRINKING WATER SAMPLING

On February 7, 2024, EPA began work on a Mission Assignment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support the Maui Department of Water Supply (DWS) and Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) by sampling the drinking water pipes. EPA has two sampling strategies, one for the main distribution system and one for the lateral service lines. Sampling the distribution system is done by collecting samples from fire hydrants, while sampling the lateral service lines involves attaching a sampling apparatus to the meter box.

Both sampling efforts will inform the County of Maui of any contamination from the wildfire. If there is any contamination, it will be isolated from the rest of the system so that drinking water advisories can continue to be lifted by the County of Maui.

EPA has several crews sampling fire hydrants in areas affected by the wildfires. Currently, EPA is sampling for:

  • Chlorine Residual
  • Coliform bacteria
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Semi-volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs)

Following hydrant sapling, EPA will be sampling lateral lines (pipes that carry water to and from a building to the main lines) at all properties with burned structures for VOCs and SVOCs.

WHERE TO ACCESS SAFE, POTABLE WATER

Tankers offering free, safe potable water are positioned at the sites listed below. You can also view the map above for assistance in locating tankers (tanker locations are identified with a green water drop).

Important note for collecting potable water from tankers:
Please bring large, sterilized water containers to collect your water. Use only clean, dedicated, food-grade containers to transport water. Containers that have held food can transfer odors to the drinking water and should not be used for water storage. Wash containers thoroughly with dishwashing soap, sanitize using one teaspoon of mild liquid chlorine bleach per quart of water, and then rinse thoroughly. Fill containers to the top, leaving as little air as possible. Store in a cool, dark area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers more information at ready.gov/water.

Lahaina safe potable water tanker locations:

  • Puamana Subdivision
  • Ainakea Road

AREAS RELEASED FROM UNSAFE WATER ADVISORY

DWS amended the Unsafe Water Advisory to remove Upper Kula Area 1 on Sept. 12. A second amendment was made on Oct. 6 to remove Upper Kula Area UK-2A and Lahaina Area L-1. A third amendment was made on Oct. 9 to remove Upper Kula Area UK-4 and Lahaina Area L-2. Water serving homes and buildings in these named areas has been determined to be safe for unrestricted use.

2023:

2024:

Important actions for reusing tap water for first time post-advisory

The evidence makes clear that fire-related contaminants did not impact areas removed from the advisory, however, there are concerns related to water that may have stagnated within homes and buildings while the advisory was in effect. To address these concerns, the Department of Water Supply recommends that customers flush their lines for at least 10 minutes. The purpose of flushing is to remove any standing water in plumbing and pipes due to non-use and replace with fresh water.

Flushing involves opening valves and faucets and allowing water to flow from each faucet for at least 10 minutes to remove any residual standing water from interior pipes and/or outlets.  

Once flushing has been completed, do not be alarmed if water presents a cloudy, or milky appearance, this is natural. The cloudiness is due to tiny air bubbles in the water. Like any bubbles, the air rises to the top of the water and goes into the air, clearing up the water.

Determination process for removing areas from advisory

The decision to amend the advisory to remove specific areas, was based on multiple lines of evidence:

  1. Approval of the Sampling Analysis Plan/Decision Flow Chart:  Understanding the flow of water through the system and the fire impacted areas were instrumental in determining where to take water quality samples. The sampling plan and decision flow chart provide the framework and protocol for modifying the Unsafe Water Advisory for current specified portions of Upper Kula Area and Lahaina and for future areas; both were developed in coordination with the State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  2. Water Quality Sampling/Testing: The Water Quality Laboratory conducted multiple rounds of water sampling/testing at numerous sites throughout the Upper Kula water system. The test results from those samples reported as non-detectable. Samples were tested for Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs), Synthetic Organic Compounds (SOCs), Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs),metals, nitrates and coliforms.  Considerations were given to organics contamination from potential stagnation periods and to ensure that, if present, they would be detected. Although lead was detected at fire hydrants along the system after first draw samples, subsequent flush samples resulted in no lead detection for Upper Kula Area UK-2A. For Upper Kula Area UK-1, subsequent flush samples resulted in no lead levels above the federal action level.

  3. System Isolation: The homes/structures that were destroyed/damaged by the fire were isolated and their water meters removed, to ensure that the potential for contamination was minimal.

  4. Water Hydraulics: Considering the design of the system, elevation, the physics of water hydraulics and the evidence presented at this time, it was determined that the area was isolated from impacted areas within the system and the Department is confident in its decision to amend the Unsafe Water Advisory for specific named sections of Upper Kula and Lahaina. The decision also took into consideration if specific areas lost water pressure.

  5. Regular Consultation: The Department of Water Supply met regularly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and experts that have experienced wildfires and the recovery aspects involved pertaining to water systems and that they support the decision to amend the advisory.

STATUS OF DRINKING WATER OUTSIDE OF THE ADVISORY AREAS

Since the fires, DWS has continued water sampling to closely monitor the entire water system and ensure safe drinking water for all residents. The Water Quality Laboratory continues to conduct required sampling to be in compliance with EPA regulations. DWS will continue to monitor water quality closely throughout the entire service area.

WATER QUALITY LABORATORY INFORMATION

DWS is continually sampling the water distribution system in Upper Kula and Lahaina in addition to its regulatory compliance requirements. 

It has always been the Water Quality Laboratory’s policy not to test water from private homes with the exception of lead and copper testing. If customers would like to have their water tested at their own expense, they may find a qualified lab on Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s list of labs certified for drinking water test methods.

The Hawai’i State Department of Health’s Laboratory Division is also certified and is available only to public water systems regulated by the State. There are no commercial labs in the state outside of this agency that is certified to run the VOC and SVOC test. For the State’s certified labs, please see “other labs” for mainland commercial labs that have this capability. The appropriate drinking water test method is as follows:

  • VOC EPA 524.2
  • SVOC EPA 525.3
  • Metals EPA 200.8
  • Mercury EPA 245.1
  • Coliform via enzyme substrate method 9223

Contacts

EPA

Call (808) 229-5184
Email: R9Wildfiresinfo@epa.gov
Visit https://www.epa.gov/maui-wildfires

County of Maui Department of Water Supply: 

Call 808-270-7550 

Hawai’i State Department of Health: 

833-833-3431 or 808-586-4468
Visit
health.hawaii.gov/mauiwildfires

FAQs for

Water

Know if your water is safe to drink

Unsafe Water Advisories issued by the County of Maui Department of Water Supply are still in effect for the following areas:

  • Upper Kula
  • Lahaina

An interactive map is available and depicts the precise location of the Unsafe Water Advisories. Updates to advisories will be provided based on monitoring results.

Water Safety: What is being done & Next steps

What is being done to restore water service and ensure water quality in the Advisory Areas will be safe to drink again?

  • The County of Maui Department of Water Supply continues regular consultation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawai’i State Department of Health (DOH). In addition, the Department has sought the expert opinions of those that have experienced the devastating effects of wildfires.
  • The Water Quality Laboratory continues to vigorously sample areas of the water system for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Additional certified personnel have been provided by DOH, to assist in the sampling efforts, increasing the amount and area of samples taken.
  • Maui samples have been prioritized, allowing for more samples to be tested at once.

How will the Department of Water Supply decide how and when to lift the unsafe water advisory?

The decision to lift the advisory will be made based on multiple lines of evidence to include but not limited to:

  • Water Quality Sampling/Testing
  • Water Hydraulics
  • Flushing
  • Elevation
  • Data Analysis

What are the County’s next steps?

The Department of Water Supply will:

  • Continue to update as evidence suggests;
  • Continue water quality sampling/testing;
  • Monitor the system once the advisory is lifted through future sampling/testing;
  • Release those future test results to the public
Where can I find potable water?

Tankers offering free, safe potable water are positioned at the sites listed below. You can also view the map above for assistance in locating tankers (tanker locations are identified with a green water drop).

Important note for collecting potable water from tankers: Please bring large, sterilized water containers to collect your water. Use only clean, dedicated, food-grade containers to transport water. Containers that have held food can transfer odors to the drinking water and should not be used for water storage. Wash containers thoroughly with dishwashing soap, sanitize using one teaspoon of mild liquid chlorine bleach per quart of water, and then rinse thoroughly. Fill containers to the top, leaving as little air as possible. Store in a cool, dark area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers more information at ready.gov/water.

Lahaina safe potable water tanker locations:

  • Kahoma Village Loop / Puunoa Place intersection
  • Lahaina Gateway, 325 Keawe Street
  • Kapunakea Street / Ainakea Road intersection
  • Kanakea Place / Kaakolu Streetintersection
  • Kelawea Mauka Park Parking Lot
  • Ainakea Road / Kaniau Road intersection
  • Aa Street / Kaniau Road intersection
  • Parking lot on the north side of the Leialii Parkway-Hooli Street intersection

Upper Kula safe potable water tanker locations:

  • Kula Lodge, 15200 Haleakala Highway
  • Copp Road / Kula Road intersection

What are VOCs?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that easily evaporate into the air. Examples of common VOCs include benzene, toluene, trichloroethylene (TCE), and perchloroethylene (PCE). VOCs are commonly used in consumer products (e.g., plastics, paints, cleaning products, adhesives) and can be released from building materials (e.g., carpet, linoleum, composite wood products, insulation). They can also be released into the environment in smoke from wildfires, building fires, and the burning of wood, oil, or gas. Review a VOC fact sheet for additional information.

Household products including:

  • Paints, paint strippers, varnishes, stains, and other solvents
  • Wood preservatives
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Cleansers and disinfectants
  • Moth repellents and air fresheners
  • Stored fuels, leaking fuel tanks, and automotive products including motor oil
  • Hobby Supplies
  • Dry-Cleaning wastes
  • Pesticides
  • Other products including:
  • Building materials and furnishings
  • Office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper
  • Graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers and photographic solutions.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does regulate VOCs in household products.

Are VOCs dangerous?

It is difficult to generalize the dangers of waterborne VOCs because there are so many different variations of them. Furthermore, there has not been extensive testing done to determine the health risks posed by many of the household products that release VOCs. But, there is evidence exposure to VOCs has negative side effects. According to the EPA, volatile organic compounds are associated with irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, loss of coordination, and nausea. Prolonged exposure can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Whether or not they are carcinogenic is still contested. Some organics have manifested as cancerous in animals, and there are some that are suspected to cause cancer in human beings.

Does reverse osmosis remove VOCs?

By itself, the reverse osmosis process cannot take out VOCs. The VOCs will pass through the membrane just like oxygen does. Reverse osmosis systems will only take out VOCs, if they have a carbon pre-filter or post-filter. Contact the manufacturer for specific capacities of your system. Keep in mind that filtration systems require regular maintenance/preventative maintenance in order to work properly.

Can’t find what you are looking for and want to speak to a representative?

Please contact the State of Hawaii Maui Disaster Relief Call Center:

Contact the Call Center at 808-727-1550


Open 7AM – 7PM daily Monday thru Saturday

Or email us at support@mauirecovers.org