UPDATE: Water at ʻUalapuʻe System Still Positive for E. coli, Still Safe to Drink

December 9, 2016, 1:55 PM HST · Updated December 9, 2:30 PM
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Molokaʻi's ʻUalapuʻe water tests positive for E. Coli bacteria. Maui Now image.

Molokaʻi’s ʻUalapuʻe water tests positive for E. Coli bacteria. Maui Now image.

The Maui Department of Water Supply detected E. coli bacteria in follow up samples from the ʻUalapuʻe Shaft on Molokaʻi.

E. coli was detected on Dec. 8, 2016, in a water sample collected the previous day at the ʻUalapuʻe Shaft. E. coli testing takes 18 hours to complete. Of the five follow up samples taken and analyzed for E. coli yesterday, Dec. 8, 2016, one was detected as positive for E.coli this morning.

The water in the ʻUalapuʻe system (on Molokaʻi) continues to be safe to drink, because it has been disinfected, and no E. coli bacteria have been found in the distribution system. Updates will be provided as soon as they become available.

The Maui Department of Water Supply is consulting continuously with the Department of Health on the situation, and is performing increased monitoring within the distribution system and at the ʻUalapuʻe Shaft to ensure that health protective treatment is occurring. In addition, the Maui Department of Water Supply is completing a comprehensive assessment of its water system and its monitoring and operational practices to identify and correct any causes of the contamination.

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What is E. Coli? How does this affect you?

E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. E. coli can also exist in tropical, subtropical, and temperate soils and may persist in soil over multiple years.

Residents are encouraged to share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools and businesses).

The public can call the DWS 24-hour hotline at (808) 270-7633 if a water-related problem occurs or if there are any questions. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available by calling the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

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