By Wendy Osher
Officials from the Maui Department of Water Supply today said they plan to continue the use of chlorine as a disinfectant at the Upper Kula Water System until further notice.
The facility had switched from chloramines to chlorine in November 2012, because of near-empty conditions in the Upper Kula reservoirs, and reduced production at the Olinda Water Treatment Facility.
The department had planned to resume production at the Olinda Facility this week; however, due to unanticipated equipment problems the Olinda WTF will remain offline until further notice.
As a result, DWS officials say the distribution system disinfectant for the Upper Kula water system will continue to be chlorine. Customers will be notified of the eventual switch back to chloramines by mail.
The Piiholo WTF in Lower Kula has been the source for Upper Kula while the Olinda WTF was on reduced service. Both facilities filter water from the East Maui rain forest; however, the Olinda facility uses microfiltration technology and chloramines for disinfection, and the Piiholo facility uses direct filtration and chlorine.
DWS officials say chloramines provide similar protection as chlorine without the risk of creating potentially harmful disinfection byproducts.