Trace chemicals found in water system

Trace amounts of organic chemicals have been detected in water samples collected in the county Department of Water Supply’s Kukuihaele water system, but do not pose a public health threat, the state Department of Health said Tuesday.

According to a news release from the DOH, atrazine was detected in the Kapulena Well of the Kukuihaele water system — which serves approximately 450 residential customers on the Big Island — during routine sampling of drinking water systems across the state.

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Atrazine, an herbicide used on row crops such as sugar cane, was confirmed in the Kapulena Well at 0.054 parts-per-billion, well below the federal and state standard of 3 ppb.

Atrazine had been previously reported in the Kukuihaele water system at a level of 0.27 ppb in 2011.

Trace levels of organic chemicals also were detected in water samples collected at the Haiku Town Water Association, Inc. water system on Maui.

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According to the DOH, drinking water from these wells remains safe, as the trace levels detected were below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state maximum contaminant levels for these contaminants.

“These trace levels of the chemicals do not pose a public health threat, and the waters from these wells are safe to drink,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director for environmental health. “The Department of Health will continue to work together with these water systems to ensure tests for these chemicals continue. Such testing is part of scheduled monitoring regularly conducted to ensure that everyone’s water is safe to drink and public health is not compromised.”

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