Maui News

Water Quality Lab Receives Donation from Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Charitable Trust

October 1, 2021, 11:06 AM HST
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University of Hawai‘i Maui College Water Quality Lab. PC: UH Maui College

The Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Charitable Trust has donated $40,000 to the University of Hawai‘i Maui College Water Quality Lab. The funding will be used to purchase a peristaltic pump for filtering seawater; a laboratory furnace for combustion of bottles; general laboratory supplies for operations and analysis of nutrients, biological oxygen demand, E.coli and total suspended solids; and will also fund a student internship in the lab.

Dr. Andrea Kealoha. PC: UH Maui College

The lab – named Pūko‘a hina‘ole in Hawaiian – is run by Dr. Andrea Kealoha. Born and raised in Pā‘ia and a graduate of King Kekaulike High School, she holds a B.S. in Global Environmental Science from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, an M.S. in Marine Science from Hawai‘i Pacific University, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Texas A&M University.

Her research focuses on climate change and other human stressors to coral reef ecosystems.

During the pandemic, she conducted research at Kahekili Beach Park, the site of the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility injection wells.

“Given the wastewater infrastructure improvements and the dramatic reduction in tourism, Kealoha had an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the potential positive impacts of improved water quality on coral reef health and resilience at the beach park – which happens to front the Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort,” according to UHMC.

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KORCT is invested in preserving the health of their local reef and supports efforts in this area from mauka to makai.

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“When we found out that Andrea’s work was happening literally in our backyard, we were eager to participate and get our homeowners involved,” says Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort General Manager Ryan Nobriga. Kealoha also believes “this is a great opportunity to involve the homeowners, an especially their children, in learning to care for our ocean.”

Established in 2020, Pūko‘a hina‘ole is Maui’s only water lab despite the many rules and regulations requiring many farms, businesses, and other operations to regularly test the quality of their water. Prior to that time, samples had to be flown to Honolulu, often on ice and within hours of collection.

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