Maui News

Wailea Community Association supports water-quality testing at four South Maui locations

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Hui O Ka Wai Ola volunteers Dan Crevier (left) and Jeep Dunning (right) collect coastal ocean water quality samples at Ulua Beach in Wailea. (Photo credit: Liz Yannell)

Maui’s community-based water-quality monitoring program Hui O Ka Wai Ola (HOWKO) has resumed water-quality testing at four locations in South Maui under a new partnership with the Wailea Community Association (WCA). Under the partnership, testing has resumed at Kilohana Drive (Keawakapu North site), Keawakapu South, Ulua Beach and Palauʻea Beach.

“Testing at these four sites has been paused since 2021, so we are excited to bring it back for an entire year,” said Brian Ward, WCA Board Member. “The WCA has been looking for a way to be a positive force for South Maui’s waters and we know partnering with the Hui is the perfect way to make a difference.”

The Hui O Ka Wai Ola team tests coastal ocean water quality samples on site in Wailea within their mobile lab. (Photo Credit: Marina Banfi)

Support from the WCA will make it possible to test samples from each of the four sites every three weeks and analyze them for pollutants harmful to coral reefs and human health. Trained HOKWO staff lead teams of dedicated volunteers to test coastal ocean water samples for physical parameters such as temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. In addition, they collect samples to identify chemical parameters in a nutrient panel including nitrate, ammonia, total nitrogen, phosphate, total phosphorus, and silicate. 


Results are compared to pollutant limits set by the State of Hawaiʻi, which, when exceeded, indicate when water quality in an area is degraded and in need of intervention. As of 2024, the Hui is the only organization producing data under a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) approved by the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health Clean Water Branch in South and West Maui.

“South Maui has seen significant flooding events in the last few years so testing at these four sites will help us understand the water-quality issues in the area,” said Liz Yannell, Hui O Ka Wai Ola’s program manager. “We are thrilled to be able to have data from these locations again and love it when the community wants to get involved and work with us toward improved water quality.”


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