Ask the Mayor

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: What are the laws regarding draining a swimming pool? Can a pool owner discharge the water into the storm drains on the street?

A: You have asked a very good question and to provide you with the answer, I had staff follow up with our Wastewater Reclamation Division of the Department of Environmental Management and the state Department of Health. To answer your main question, the disposal of swimming pool discharge water into storm drains is not allowed by the Clean Water Act, due to the chlorine or other minerals in the water. According to our Wastewater Reclamation Division of the Department of Environmental Management, “Swimming pools are not allowed to discharge to the public wastewater system,” per Maui County Code 14.25A.040 — Prohibited connections and 14.21A.015 — Prohibited discharge standards. Also, Health Department administrative rules covering public swimming pools — and not private pools — states that “the disposal of public pool water shall be free of chlorine. The water may be used for watering the lawn and plants or have another disposal method approved by the director for the state Department of Health. Disposal must not create a nuisance such as ponding and/or mosquito breeding.”

Q: Why is it taking so long to open South Kihei Road? The traffic is terrible, and it is totally ridiculous for it to take so long just to fix a simple bridge.

A: This has been the most-asked question my office has received the last few weeks. I know this project has caused a lot of frustration for those who commute back and forth from Kihei, with the traffic delays. I should mention that my staff and I have been caught in the same traffic delays when we have had to conduct site inspections or attend meetings on the south side. Nowadays, bridges over standing water require a lot of permits from various state and federal agencies, and the permit conditions require the bridge to be built in a manner that allows the water to flow through the area, with various strategic safeguards to control runoff while allowing aquatic wildlife the ability to transit the area. This lengthens significantly the time it takes to construct a modern concrete bridge. To get a better understanding of the scope of work that was involved, please visit the Maui County Webpage at We added several extra days at the end of the project to extend the paving all the way to Uwapo Road, whereas the limits of paving were adjacent to the bridge. We think that this definitely is worth the extra couple of days. I want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this project.

Q: Why is a trailer house not allowed in Maui? From what I hear, this would help us, and being a single mom I could have a house I can call my own instead of renting forever.

A: According to our Planning Department, trailer houses are allowed along with tiny homes. They are treated the same as any other type of home, even though trailer houses are theoretically mobile and tiny homes are generally small. When people say we need to allow trailer houses or tiny houses, what they probably mean is that we need to allow these in addition to, or in a greater density than, what is already allowed. Most residential, rural and agricultural lots are allowed to have two houses (or one house and one ohana). Those houses can be trailers or tiny homes. But there can still be only two. The zoning code would have to be changed to allow more than two homes per lot for alternative types of housing, such as trailer homes or tiny homes.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email