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Communities on Maui could be waiting a long time for safe water

It will take time to thoroughly test the water in areas that were badly burned by the fire. Officials say fully restoring service could take years.
Communities on Maui could be waiting a long time for safe water
Posted at 4:41 PM, Sep 01, 2023

Residents of Maui are dealing with a new problem as they recover from the deadly wildfire there: They can't be sure if their water is safe to drink.

On Aug. 11, officials warned residents in Upper Kula and Lahaina to avoid using their water supplies.

Later that month the County of Maui published a map to show where unsafe water advisories were in effect.

Some residents, however, still don't have reliable internet access to check the map.

Tests so far haven't shown any concerning levels of contamination in the water supply, but that may change as testing covers more areas, especially places where infrastructure connected to the water system was badly burned by the fire.

Doing more thorough testing will also take time, because of the hazardous conditions in the burn area and the need to continue searching for human remains.

SEE MORE: Biden defends government's response to Maui wildfire disaster

Officials say it could still take weeks to verify the water in unsafe areas can be used for drinking or bathing. Fully restoring water service to the affected areas on Maui, they say, could take months or years.

In Paradise, California, for example, where the 2018 Camp Fire destroyed nearly the entire city, city workers are still replacing water service lines five years later.


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