By Wendy Osher
The Maui Department of Water Supply plans to switch back the distribution system disinfectant for the Upper Kula water system from chlorine to chloramines on or around Wednesday, Feb. 13.
The DWS began a temporary switch to chlorine in November 2012 due to the near-empty conditions of the Upper Kula reservoirs.
Department officials had planned to resume production at the Olinda Facility in January; however, due to unanticipated equipment problems the Olinda WTF remained offline.
The Piiholo WTF in Lower Kula has been the source for Upper Kula while the Olinda WTF was on reduced service.
Jacky Takakura, administrative officer for the Maui Department of Water Supply noted that both facilities filter water from the East Maui rainforest; however, the Olinda facility uses microfiltration technology and chloramines for disinfection, and the Piiholo facility uses direct filtration and chlorine.
According to Takakura, chloramines provide similar protection as chlorine without the risk of creating potentially harmful disinfection byproducts. Chloramines, which is chlorine and ammonia bonded together, have been used in the Upper Kula water system since 1985.
Maui water officials say the Olinda Water Treatment Facility provides approximately 1.2 million gallons of water to the Upper Kula and Ulupalakua area per day.
Customers with questions about water quality can find out more by calling the DWS laboratory at (808) 270-7550, or log on to www.mauiwater.org.
***Supporting information courtesy Maui Department of Water Supply.