Avoiding Contaminated Drinking Water
County looking at potential risks.
Finding out what threatens Molokai’s water sources is mandated by federal law through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But implementing a protection plan is not.
Therefore, the County of Maui Department of Water Supply, working with the University of Hawaii and the state Department of Health, has volunteered for the task. The Wellhead Protection Project, now in its ninth year, acts to protect the groundwater around public-use wells. Eva Blumenstein, a water resource planner, said they are still looking for public feedback on this issue.
There are three county wells and nine private wells on Molokai, but the Wellhead Protection Project is looking at wells that serve 25 or more people, said Robert Whittier, a hydrogeologist with UH-Manoa working with the County of Maui. Private areas that fall within public well-source water are Molokai Ranch and Kawela Plantation, as well as the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Kalaupapa, and residents served by Maui County.
“Molokai has a sole source aquifer, there’s not alternative source to go to,” Blumenstein said.
She said her department will be coming back in May for more public feedback, especially those served by the wells and the Molokai Water Advisory Committee.