EPA completes 17 miles of sewer line inspection and continues to sample drinking water lines impacted by Maui wildfires

This work will support Maui County's efforts to restore wastewater and drinking water supplies affected by the wildfires

March 11, 2024

Lahaina, Hawaii – Today the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed the inspection of sewer lines in Lahaina, Hawaii. The EPA removed debris such as sediment, rocks, rags and grease from the pipes.

After the evacuation, a robotic camera was used to assess the condition of the pipes and identify any effects of the fire. The video footage was provided to the district for review. This work will allow Maui County to prioritize emergency repairs of damage caused by the August 2023 wildfires, including repairs necessary to protect the wastewater treatment plant from excessive water intrusion through damaged sewer pipes.

“Collaboration in Lahaina will continue as we identify the most efficient paths forward.” said Karl Banks, EPA wildfire response manager for Maui. “EPA is privileged to continue to support the Maui County Department of Water Resources and Department of Environmental Management, along with the Hawaii Department of Health, as we advance inspection and mitigation of critical infrastructure. Our shared goal is for the people of Lahaina to return to their homes with a safe and reliable water supply as quickly as possible.”

“The Maui County Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is grateful for EPA’s support and assistance in assessing the damage to our existing wastewater collection system in Lahaina. Due to DEM’s limited resources (lack of personnel and specialized equipment), this monumental task would not have been completed in the short period of time without EPA’s support and willingness to work with our Wastewater Treatment Division.” said Shayne Agawa, director of the Department of Environmental Management. “Completing this important task will allow the county to make the necessary repairs to restore sewer service to the City of Lahaina.”

The EPA evaluated all 97,749 feet of lateral sewer pipes in about a month. The EPA cleaned and assessed all sewer lines where the camera rover was able to enter and collect data. Canal sections that were inaccessible, damaged or blocked were reported to the county for further assessment and action.

EPA has successfully collected data from 40% of these deferred segments, e.g. B. the location of a pipe break, which will help the district prioritize future work. EPA continues to provide wastewater technical assistance to the county.

The EPA continues to do this Provide technical assistance to the Maui County Department of Water Supply by conducting drinking water sampling. This The district is informed about the contamination of the drinking water pipes by the forest fire through sampling. The EPA is conducting sampling in the distribution system, with teams taking samples from fire hydrants in areas affected by the wildfires.

The EPA conducts sampling for water quality parameters commonly found in drinking water systems following structural fires. In the coming weeks, EPA will coordinate with the Maui County Water Authority to conduct the next phase of sampling of drinking water laterals The Bring water from the main line to the home or business. In the final phase, pipes that have been sampled and determined to be contaminated are cut off and sealed to prevent contamination from entering the main pipe.

Photo 1: EPA employee opens a fire hydrant to collect a sample.

Photo 2: EPA employee collects sample.

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