Green Guide

Water restrictions lifted for Molokai residents

Posted November 24

— Hawaii has lifted a water usage restriction for nearly 2,000 residents on the island of Molokai after vandals damaged storage tanks carrying millions of gallons of water.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands said Wednesday that testing on the two storage tanks in Hoolehua determined the water is safe to drink.

The water quality concerns began Tuesday when the department discovered that the lids on the tanks were vandalized and one was completely torn off.

Residents had been advised to avoid tap water and seek alternative sources of water for drinking, cooking and washing. The incident also forced the closure of four schools Wednesday.

DHHL is now cooperating with Maui County police in their ongoing investigation into the vandalism.

It remains unclear when the lids were damaged. No damage was noted during the last routine inspection of the tanks on Oct. 15.

"These lids are heavy duty metal lids that are locked down on one side and have metal hinges on the other, so those locks and hinges needed to be cut -- and that's what happened," said department spokeswoman Kuuwehi Hiraishi.

DHHL said the two 3.5-million-gallon tanks serve about 1,800 customers, mostly homesteaders from Kalamaula Hawaiian Homestead and Palaau Hoolehua Hawaiian Homestead and also residents in Kalae.

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