Another well goes offline in North Kona water system

KAILUA-KONA — Another North Kona well is down.

Palani deep well fell offline about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night, confirmed Nyssa Kushi, spokesperson for the county Department of Water Supply, in an email Wednesday.

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One of the beleaguered North Kona system’s 13 water sources, Palani’s failure brings the tally of inoperative wells in the system back up to four. As many as five wells and no fewer than two have been simultaneously malfunctioning in North Kona since January 2017.

At different points in the past, DWS mandated a 25 percent water restriction, including times when only three wells were offline. Kushi said the department had not reinstated that order as of Wednesday afternoon on the heels of a fourth well failure.

“They’re still monitoring the situation, but at this time it appears that just the 10 percent is in effect,” said Kushi, referencing a voluntary 10 percent water conservation effort DWS has pushed for several months.

The department brought Palani online in 2012, repairing it three times in the six years since. It was most recently returned to service just more than seven months ago on Oct. 1. DWS has in the past characterized the expected lifespan of deep well equipment as typically between 5-7 years.

Officials couldn’t elaborate on the precise cause of Palani’s failure Wednesday, as equipment must be excavated and examined before such a determination can be made. However, the department did confirm the well’s motor was inoperable.

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Along with Palani, deep wells at Honokohau, Hualalai and Waiaha remain offline. Kushi said, however, that DWS has secured contracts for work at Honokohau and Hualalai “with repairs to start soon.”

Email Max Dible at mdible@westhawaiitoday.com.

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