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E. Coli found in Aina Koa area

Published On: Oct 19 2013 06:08:00 PM HST
E Coli

HONOLULU -

E. Coli bacteria was found in a water sample taken from the Aina Koa area near Waialae earlier this week, the Board of Water Supply disclosed Saturday afternoon.

Officials insist that an equipment malfunction that allowed the bacteria to survive has been fixed and the water is safe to drink.

The bacteria was detected Thursday in a routine sample taken Wednesday.

Officials went to the site Thursday to take more samples. It takes 24 hours to confirm E. coli contamination.

On Friday the presence of E. coli was confirmed in a sample taken from the Aina Koa Park area, said Erwin Kawata, BWS Water Quality Division.

Inspectors determined an equipment malfunction in Aina Kona Well II well failed to add chlorine to disinfect the water.

The BWS says that piece of equipment was repaired which allowed chlorine levels to return to normal.

Samples taken Friday after the equipment was fixed showed no signs of E. coli, officials said.

A positive test for E. coli violates the state’s “Total Coliform Rule,” according to the BWS.

The State Department of Health notified the BWS that is was in violation of the rule.

E. Coli are bacteria whose presence could indicate that water has been contaminated with human or animal waste.

E. Coli in water can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. E. coli can pose health risks for infants, young children, some elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

E. Coli can also exist in tropical, subtropical and temperate soils and can survive for years.

Officials are not clear on the source of the E. coli in the Aina Koa water system.

“Because, like us, our water system is not totally sealed off from the environment, it can become susceptible to dust and other kinds of things from the environment that can get into the water system,” said Kawata.

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