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County to switch disinfectant for Upper Kula water system

The Maui News

Upper Kula customers may notice less of a chlorine odor or taste in their water after the county Department of Water Supply switches its disinfectant for the system back to chloramines starting March 15.

On Jan. 10, the department temporarily changed its disinfectant from chloramines to chlorine to clear away trace amounts of E. coli from some areas of the Upper Kula water system following a major storm in December that damaged water lines in the area.

A boil water advisory was lifted for all areas of Upcountry earlier this month after several consecutive days of negative water samples confirmed tap water met public health standards, according to the county.

Chloramines, a mix of chlorine and ammonia, have been used for disinfection in the Upper Kula water system since 1985, the county said in a news release Wednesday.

For kidney dialysis patients, the processes already in place to remove chlorine in the water will remove chloramines. Home dialysis users should consult the machine manufacturer for instructions on how to properly treat water before use and contact their medical professional for more information, the county said.

Fish tank owners should also keep in mind that chloramines are toxic to fish and must be removed from tank water, just as chlorine is toxic and must be removed, the county said. Although chlorine rapidly disappears from aquarium water on its own, chloramines do not, and steps should be taken to remove them. Most pet stores sell dechlorinating agents and generally recommend using them. Chemicals used to remove chlorine should work just as well for chloramines, the county said. Fish tank owners can consult their local pet store for more information.

For questions about water quality, contact the Department of Water Supply Laboratory at (808) 270-7550, or visit mauicounty.gov/water.

For more information, contact Adam Mundy at (808) 270-8046 during regular working hours. Water service problems can also be reported to the 24-hour service line at (808) 270-7633.

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