HONOLULU (KHON2) — Residents in Waiahole Valley are being told to boil their tap water before use due to E. coli contamination.
According to the Hawaii Department of Health, testing confirmed that the water exceeded the state standard for E. coli bacteria.
Sampling will continue in the next few days until the water tests normal.
“E. coli bacteria can exist in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate soil and may persist in soil for a number of years. E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated.”Hawaii Department of Health
Contamination with these microbes may cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, 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.
John A. Burns School of Medicine Assistant Clinical Professor Dr. James Ireland said if you experience these symptoms, you should see your doctor.
He also said contact of the bacteria with an open wound could lead to an infection.
“Although the risk is low, if the shower water was contaminated with E.coli, you could be at risk for soft tissue infection or cellulitis from the E.coli getting into small cuts or abrasions on your skin.”
The State Department of Health said that the whole valley is being informed, which includes Waiahole Elementary School.
Officials are telling parents to make sure their children bring their own water bottles to school tomorrow.
The school will have a water truck tomorrow to supply their water.
As for the school lunches, they will be prepared in another facility.
Water tanks will also be brought in for washing and to refill the water bottles.
The water purveyor, Hawaii Housing and Development Corp (HHDC) will notify the community when the boil water notice ends.
According to the Health Department, the water purveyor, HHFDC, is determining the cause. The E.coli exceedance was discovered through required routine testing. They said a similar situation occurred in 2006.
We will continue to update this post with any new information.