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Aging water system to undergo upgrades

State Rep. Lynn DeCoite (from left), Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairman William Aila Jr., HHC Molokai Commissioner Zachary Helm and Kahu Claude Duvauchelle attend a groundbreaking for the Ho‘olehua Water System upgrade project Thursday. DHHL photo

The Maui News

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to mark the beginning of a $37 million upgrade to the 80-year-old Ho’olehua Water System on Molokai.

“Among the four water systems the department oversees, Ho’olehua is the oldest and has been in desperate need of repair for some time,” Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairman William Aila Jr. said in a news release.

Aila attended the socially distanced event Thursday alongside state Rep. Lynn DeCoite, Hawaiian Homes Commission Molokai Commissioner Zachary Helm and U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Program Loan Specialist Nate Riedel.

The capital improvement project, funded in part by a $19 million allocation from the USDA, will be built in two phases spanning seven construction sites by contractor Goodfellow Brothers, managed by SSFM International.

Enhancements to the system will include the installation of a 200,000-gallon storage tank, upgrades to automation systems, a new warehouse and a new emergency generator diesel fuel tank. Other improvements involve new paved roads and fencing, along with the repair and replacement of existing tanks, pumps, transmission mains, laterals, valves and hydrants.

The Ho’olehua Water System serves more than 2,400 customers, including about 500 homesteads in Ho’olehua-Pala’au, Kalama’ula and Mo’omomi. Water from this system also provides service to the post office, schools and the airport.

Construction is expected to take roughly two years to complete. Customers should expect intermittent water outages and construction traffic during regular business hours throughout the project’s duration, the news release said.

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