If you are in Hawaii during or after a major storm, be aware of water advisories. Proper water treatment includes treating with water purification tablets or boiling. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. Filtering will not remove contaminating pathogens.
The major southwest storm that flooded South Maui caused power outages that lasted for three days and widespread flood damage. In addition to temporary beach closures, other county services were impacted the storm. Area water treatment plants were closed causing a shortage of potable water. At the same time, flood waters from Upcountry brought runoff downhill into Kihei that was contaminated with animal and other waste. The County recommends that all residents of South Maui, including Kihei treat tap water, such as with purification tablets or by boiling, before consuming. Another option to buy bottled water.
Return visitors to Maui may be caught off guard. There are few, if any, tap water-related illnesses in Hawaii. The County also cautions against ingesting any lake, pond, or stream water without proper filtration. By swimming in natural pools, such as the popular Twin Falls pools, it is possible to contract the intestinal parasites giardia, cyptosporidium and leptospirosis. These cause painful diarrheal diseases that require lengthy drug treatment.
Until further notice, officials recommend the follow steps to protect your health:
- Treat all tap water before drinking with water purificiation tablets, by boiling, or filtration that removes intestinal parasites
- Avoid contact with untreated water in sensitive areas, such as: eyes, open cuts or gums
- Consume bottled water
- Avoid swimming in or drinking from fresh water streams and pools