Organic Chemicals Found in Maui Water Tank

December 11, 2013, 8:50 AM HST · Updated December 11, 9:45 AM
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Haleakalā photo by Wendy Osher.

Haleakalā photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Hawaiʻi Department of Health announced the finding of “minute amounts of organic chemicals” in a Haleakalā National Park water system tank on Maui during routine sampling.

State officials identified the organic chemicals as total xylenes and ethylbenzene.

Health department officials say the presence of the chemicals are within compliance levels for federal and state drinking water standards.

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Deputy Director for Environmental Health Garry Gill said the department is confident that the trace levels do not pose a public health threat.

“We do not want people to be alarmed,” Gill said in a statement issued today. “Our Safe Drinking Water Branch continues to monitor and test the water system tank that was affected and our staff is dedicated to ensuring the public receives healthy, clean water.”

Both chemicals are constituents of a new epoxy coating that was applied to a water tank in December of 2012, and concentrations are expected to decrease as the epoxy coating cures in place, officials said.

According to data released by the state Department of Health, total xylenes were confirmed at 26.9 parts per billion, which is below the federal and state Maximum Contaminant Level of 10,000 ppb; and ethylbenzene was detected at 3.9 ppb, also below the federal and state MCL of 700 ppb.

According to the announcement, this water system tank serves an estimated population of about 1,200 people, including visitors.

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