E. coli detected in a drinking sample — water officials

The state Department of Health has notified the Maui County Department of Water Supply that it has violated drinking water regulations for the presence of E. coli bacteria, the water department announced Saturday morning.

A sample collected Thursday at the Kepaniwai Well in Wailuku was positive for E. coli bacteria, the department said. The results were determined Friday because the E. coli test requires 18 hours to complete. Subsequent sampling was negative for E. coli bacteria, and the water is safe to drink, the department’s announcement said.

“It is likely that the E. coli contamination came externally from the sampling tap,” it said. Water department “personnel are inspecting, and if necessary, securing sampling taps at all sites to prevent contamination of future water samples.”

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.

“E. coli may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems,” the announcement said.

For more information, call 270-7633.