New well to aid Hana’s drinking water woes

The infusion of drinking water Monday from a new well that has been cleared by the Health Department will alleviate low water pressure issues in East Maui communities caused by a pump problem, the Department of Water Supply reported.

The water problem led the state Department of Education to close Hana High and Elementary School on Monday, but classes were set to resume today, the DOE said.

On Dec. 12, the water department asked residents in the Wakiu, Wainapanapa and Uakea Road areas and Hana High and Elementary and Hana Medical Center to curtail unnecessary water consumption due to pump issues with a Wakiu well.

Jan Inouye-Ogata, administrative officer for the water department, said Monday that the old pump was running but at a reduced rate. Damage to the impeller, the rotating part of the pump, or the pump bowl assembly are the suspected causes of the problem.

It will take an estimated three months to repair the pump, she said.

Because of the length of the repair time, the water department looked to activate its new Wakiu Well C earlier than planned, she said. The new source, which was planned to supplement the system, was set to officially open in two months, pending the Health Department’s approval process.

The Health Department had already determined that the well water meets state and federal drinking water standards and is safe to drink, Inouye-Ogata said. The well’s engineering report also had been reviewed and cleared and all that remained for approval was an interagency review to consider hydrological and geological factors and land use issues in the well area.

“The receipt of interagency review comments is rare, and the DOH expects this well to be fully approved for use as one of the primary sources of drinking water for this system by the end of January 2017,” said Safe Drinking Water Branch Chief Joanna Seto.

Due to the pumping issues, the new well was put into services as an “emergency source” until the interagency review process is completed, Inouye-Ogata said.

Based on Health Department regulations, the water department is required to inform consumers if testing detects water quality issues. Water samples have been and will be taken two times a month or more if needed to ensure that the water quality meets federal and state regulations.

The new well is rated to pump 504,000 gallons per day, but the water department is not sure exactly what the final output will be, Inouye-Ogata said. Testing was set to be conducted this week.

The old well had a capacity of 288,000 gallons per day.

For questions regarding water quality, call the Department of Water Supply laboratory  at 270-7550 and leave a message with questions and call back information. The laboratory hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.

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