Molokai water deemed safe after source tests positive for E. coli

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The Maui Department of Water Supply is investigating after E. coli bacteria was found in the Ualapue Shaft on Molokai.

E. coli was detected on Thursday in a water sample collected the previous day. Testing takes 18 hours to complete.

However, officials stress the water on Molokai is safe to drink, because it has been disinfected and no E. coli bacteria has been found in the distribution system.

Subsequent sampling at the Ualapue Shaft was taken Thursday and results should be available Friday.

The Department of Water Supply is completing a comprehensive assessment of the water system, as well as monitoring and operational practices, to identify and correct any causes of the contamination.

E. coli is bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can 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. E.coli can also exist in tropical, subtropical, and temperate soils and may persist in soil over multiple years.

Residents can call the 24-hour hotline at 270-7633 if a water-related problem occurs or if there are any questions.

General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available by calling the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

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