Residents of Lahaina, Kula and the surrounding areas still can’t drink water a month after the fire.
Many residents still are being warned not to bathe or drink water that has been contaminated by the wildfires.
Kula was not as badly affected as Lahaina where 115 people were killed and many more remain missing after the U.S.’s deadliest wildfire for a century. However, families and business owners have been suffering from the lack of water. Firefighters are still dealing hotspots and flare ups while trying to put out the Olinda wildfire.
Maui County Department of Water Supply has not responded to inquiries from Honolulu Star-Advertiser regarding the extent of the damage, the work done to repair it, or the date that the advisory for unsafe water might be lifted. Maui County, however, sent out an announcement on Tuesday evening announcing it has amended its advisory by removing Upper Kula zone 1, which covers most of the area.
The media release stated that “the evidence shows clearly that fire-related contamination did not affect Upper Kula Zone 1”. The media release said that there were concerns about water which may have sat in homes or buildings during the time the advisory for Upper Kula Zone 1 was active. The Department of Water Supply advises customers to flush their pipes for 10 minutes or more in order to address this concern. “The purpose of flushing is removing any water that has accumulated in pipes and plumbing due to lack of use and replacing it with fresh water.”
According to a county release, the unsafe water advisory is still in place for the majority of Kula’s areas around Pulehu Gulch – one of the regions that was affected by the fires. Rory Mayo has run a number of distribution centers in Lahaina as well as Upcountry. He said, “We’ve tried to get as much water as we can jam on flatbed trucks to help.”
The three fires, which started on August 8, spread quickly in Lahaina Kula Kihei due to high winds.
On Aug. 11 Maui’s water board issued an unsafe-water alert, saying both the Upper Kula and Lahaina systems experienced wildfire impacts due to the destruction of structures and loss of water pressure in some areas, allowing harmful contaminants–including benzene and “other volatile organic chemicals “–to enter the systems.
The officials urged the public not to use tap water for cooking or bathing and said that they didn’t think boiling, freezing or filtering it, or adding disinfectants such as chlorine, would be safe.
Marine Peila is the store manager of the Kula Marketplace in the Kula Lodge. She said that officials told her water would be back on within one to ten weeks. Kula Lodge lies in an area that the county has deemed unsafe for drinking water.
She said, “the information was spotty at best and perhaps a bit misguided.”
Peila stated that during the early days following the start of the fires, “we were housing people who had been forced to leave Lahaina or Kula.” One of the people began to develop rashes, and “the following day we discovered that there was benzene in the water.” We had to provide bottled water.
Kelly Faoro from Kula, filling water bottles at Kula Lodge, told the crowd: “I have only been living Upcountry for two years. The people in my area are very friendly and helpful. They give rides to each other or pick up water.
You can count on the volunteers, and everyone else who is here to help you. Faoro said that it was easy to obtain clean water. Do we want to have clean, safe drinking water coming out of the tap? “Of course.”
Lack of water is causing a lot of stress to Kula’s businesses. Kula Lodge has not been able to accept any guests, until water safety is restored. The restaurant at the Kula Lodge remains closed.
Coral Mathison is the owner of Country Coffee in Kula. She has managed to keep the coffee stand open despite the fact that the trailer from which she runs it doesn’t have a water connection. While the lack of running water was frustrating, Mathison said she felt lucky to be able use filtered water in the coffee stand.
Even so, the business remains slow. Mathison stated that “we had very few visitors and after everyone left, it dropped.”
The Olinda Fire is still burning and firefighters are monitoring it for any flare ups.
Jeanette Hablewitz, an Olinda resident, said that firetrucks speeding through the hills is a common occurrence. The smoke caused by the fire was a concern for Jeanette Hablewitz’s mother who has respiratory issues.
She was hospitalized two weeks earlier and coughing blood. She has all these problems, said Hablewitz. We’re only smelling smoke. “She’s in her bedroom with air purifiers and I was like, I have to do something. I must get you out.’
Hablewitz has put her mom in a hotel just a few blocks from her sister’s home. She booked the room for a month, in the hopes her mother will be able to return when the Olinda Fire is completely extinguished. While it is unclear exactly when this will happen, firetrucks can still be seen near her house, Hablewitz feels that there has been progress.
Hablewitz said, “We don’t smell smoke the whole night.”
Water trucks have been sent by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to spray dry vegetation in an effort to stop new fires and flare-ups from igniting upcountry. Many in Upcountry hope to welcome visitors back once the smoke has cleared.
In the aftermath of the West Maui fire, it was advised that visitors leave the area to allow for relief efforts to be made to help the locals who were displaced. Tourism on the whole island, including Upcountry, has plummeted. This has essentially destroyed Maui’s economic health.
Officials from the state and counties have pleaded with visitors to come back to Maui, except for in Lahaina’s off-limits area. Gov. Josh Green, the Governor of Utah announced on Friday that tourists will have access to all areas except for that one zone beginning October 8.
Hablewitz is an artist from Makawao and the owner of Cultural Creations Maui, where she has her own art gallery. She believes that a pause is needed.
She said, “Don’t worry about it, we need to take some time out for those who have lost homes, their lives and their businesses.” In a time of mourning, when we are losing an important part of the island and many of those who died were elders or Hawaiians, I think we need to take some time. “That’s how I feel.”
Hablewitz did acknowledge that her situation is not as precarious, but that others may be in a more difficult one. Hablewitz believes that businesses in need of help should be able to get rental assistance or other forms of aid.
Mathison says she plans to use the aid for business programs announced last week by Green, one month after they began. Green announced on Friday that he has authorized $100 millions in assistance, which could be translated into grants between $3,000 and $4,000 for the affected families, as well as $25 million towards helping businesses to survive through grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000.
Many Maui workers are now out of work, and they struggle to survive while grieving for their friends who died in Lahaina.
Peila, who is the sole employee at Kula Market currently, has been let go as the business declined. She says she has the odd visitor. One of them is a group of tourists that have taken time off their vacation to help out with the Maui fire victims.
Peila said, “This has never happened before in Hawaii or Maui.” We’re just navigating through the day. “I was born and raised on the island of Lahaina. I have a number of friends and relatives down there and every day brings a different experience.”
For your home’s drainage and water systems to function properly, you need plumbing services. Plumbing systems may develop problems over time such as leaks, clogs or degrading pipes. These issues can affect water quality and utility. local emergency plumbing services in Toronto are available to solve a variety of plumbing issues. You are interested in the information about the services we offer, right? If so, here you can verify and learn more about the subject of services that we apply and offer to the client https://www.imperial-restoration.ca/. These services may include drain cleaning and maintenance, pipe repair, installation of fixtures, water heater repairs and fixture installations. You can make sure that the plumbing in your home or business is working properly by hiring a professional plumbing service. This will ensure clean water and efficient drainage as well as dependable supply. Well-maintained plumbing systems contribute to your overall home comfort and business functionality.