E. COLI BACTERIA FOUND IN BOARD OF WATER SUPPLY
WAIPAHU WELLS IV PUMP #2
Water is safe to drink. The public was never in any danger.
HONOLULU – The Board of Water Supply has detected E. coli bacteria in BWS Waipahu Wells IV Pump #2.
What should I do?
There is nothing you need to do. Your water continues to be safe to drink. This notice is a public announcement required under the Federal and State drinking water regulations.
The Board of Water Supply (BWS) is notifying the public that a water sample from BWS Waipahu Wells IV Pump #2 has tested positive for the presence of E. coli bacteria. As a result, BWS is providing public notice of the finding as required under the federal Ground Water Rule. The water from this source is safe to drink because it is routinely disinfected before it reaches customers. For this reason no further action is required by customers. Water from Waipahu Wells IV Pump #2 serves the area from Waipahu to Pokai Bay.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ground Water Rule is a regulatory process aimed to reduce the potential risk of illness caused by microbial contamination in ground water. Under the Rule, utilities must test their ground water when coliform is detected in any sample collected from the water system. If E. coli is found in the ground water source, the Rule requires the public to be notified. E. coli detection is not a rule violation, but the Rule requires that the public be notified of the finding.
On September 11, 2018, BWS detected coliform bacteria in a routine water sample from the Ko Olina Golf Maintenance Building that was collected on September 10, 2018. In accordance with the Ground Water Rule, BWS staff collected a repeat sample from the Ko Olina Golf Maintenance Building and samples from all of its well pumps at Hoaeae Wells, Honouliuli Wells I and II, Kunia Wells I and III and Waipahu Wells IV pumping stations on September 11, 2018. Of these samples only Waipahu Wells IV Pump #2 tested E. coli positive the following day, September 12, 2018. The repeat sample from Ko Olina Golf Maintenance Building and samples from all other well pumps were E. coli negative.
The BWS immediately collected five (5) additional samples from Waipahu Wells IV, Pump #2 on September 12, 2018 as required by Rule. After the samples were collected the well was then shut down. E. coli testing requires 24 hours to complete.
E. coli bacteria can exist in tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate soil and may persist in soil for a number of years. E. coli is a fecal indicator and microbe whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term health effects, such as diarrhea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.
The BWS notified the State Department of Health (DOH) of the finding and is informing the public as required by Federal and State drinking water regulations.
During the time Waipahu Wells IV, Pump #2 was operating chlorine was being added to the well water before it reaches customers. Water samples collected from the Ko Olina Golf Maintenance Building on September 10 and 11, 2018 had chlorine present and tested negative for E. coli. Samples collected on September 10, 2018 from East Kapolei Fire Station, Nanakuli Fire Station, Pokai Bay Beach Park, Waianae Fire Station, BWS Waianae Corporation Yard and Kulahanai Place also had chlorine present and tested negative for E. coli. For this reason, the public was not at risk of E. coli exposure.
What is being done?
The BWS, in consultation with DOH, is conducting an investigation to determine the reason for the E. coli presence. Waipahu Wells IV, Pump #2 will remain shut down until the BWS concludes its investigation, completes the necessary corrective measures and receives DOH approval to resume well operations.
The BWS will issue a second notification on 9/13/18 with the results of the additional five (5) samples from Waipahu Wells IV, Pump #2.
For more information, please contact the BWS Water Quality Division at 748-5080 or the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1(800) 426-4791.
Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly, for example people in apartments, nursing homes, schools and businesses. You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.