DOE says Lahainaluna water problems weren’t ignored, just not reported


Water problems at Lahainaluna High School have not been ignored.

The Department of Education told KHON2 Wednesday that it wasn’t aware of them. Now that we’ve brought it to their attention, officials say they’re looking to fix the problem.

A worker told us about it using the Report It feature on our website. Water from faucets inside the special education building comes out a brownish color.

Workers in the building told us every time they turn the faucet on in the morning, the water comes out a bit brown and they have to wait 20 to 30 minutes before it runs clear.

We’ve also learned that other old buildings on campus have the same problem.

After KHON2 aired the story Tuesday, a spokesman for the DOE says work crews are now looking into the problem.

It had been going on for so long, everyone assumed that it had been reported.

So the school is looking to fix that while the DOE tries to fix the water problem.

The DOE sent us a statement that said: “Once the matter was brought to our attention, DOE personnel went to the location to check on the sinks. We are troubleshooting the issue and are committed to providing safe water for the facility.”

“I think that’s great. I think that’s what we were hoping for, that we just have some answers, if it’s going to hurt the kids or the adults that are working there. I think that’s the most important thing to get some answers,” said Pakalana Phillips, who works in the building.

Students use the tap water to cook with in the kitchen, and most of them wind up bringing bottled water for drinking.

Phillips says the problem had been going on for so long, that they thought it had already been reported years ago and was ignored.

“I think that frustration in the system in the DOE system is quite frustrating for everyone,” Phillips said.

A DOE spokesman said they were never notified of the problem, the school has never submitted any type of work order to address the issue, and it was never included in the school’s priority list to the DOE of what it wants fixed.

Now that they’re aware of the problem, DOE officials say a water study will be done for the whole campus, which includes testing the water to make sure it’s safe.

“I am so grateful to KHON to take the time to even bring these concerns up, and I think our biggest concern is for the safety of the children so thank you so much,” said Phillips.

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