Maui News

Upper Kula Water System to Return to Chloramines Use

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The Department of Water Supply (DWS) will switch the distribution system disinfectant for the Upper Kula water system from chlorine back to chloramines on or about Friday, March 15, 2019, a DWS press release stated on March 1, 2019.

The only noticeable change is the water with chloramines has less of a chlorine odor or taste.

Chloramines (chlorine and ammonia bonded together) have been used in the Upper Kula water system since 1985. The DWS began a temporary switch to chlorine in October 2018 due to routine periodic maintenance.

The Pi‘iholo Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in Lower Kula has been the source for Upper Kula while the Olinda WTP 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 Pi‘iholo facility uses direct filtration and chlorine.


For kidney dialysis patients: In the dialysis process, water comes in contact with the blood across a permeable membrane. Chloramines in that water would be toxic, just as chlorine is toxic, and must be removed from water used in kidney dialysis machines. Contact your medical professional for more information.

For fish tank owners: Chloramines are toxic to fish and must be removed from tank water, just as chlorine is toxic and must be removed. Although chlorine rapidly disappears from aquarium water on its own, that is not the case with chloramines; steps should be taken to remove chloramines. Most pet stores sell dechlorinating agents and generally recommend using them. Chemicals used to remove chlorine should work just as well for chloramines.

Consult your pet store for more information.


For questions about water quality, call the DWS Laboratory at (808) 270-7550, or go online.
For health concerns, call the Maui District Office of the Hawai‘i State Department of Health at (808) 984-8200.

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