Board of Water Supply stresses safety, security for Oahu’s system

Vandalism at two massive water reservoirs on Molokai is raising security concerns about our water supply.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands operates the reservoirs, which provide water to 1,800 homes and businesses.

A spokeswoman says the locks were broken on the two tanks, and the lid was taken off on one of them.

“They are huge and they are heavy,” said DHHL spokeswoman Kuuwehi Hiraishi. “I don’t think that it is possible for one person to remove that lid.”

Maui County police are investigating.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health is testing the water and the results are expected later Wednesday.

We wanted to know what security measures are in place on Oahu to make sure that the water is safe.

KHON2 spoke with the Board of Water Supply. Spokeswoman Kathleen Pahinui says the vandalism of the two reservoirs on Molokai does not force the agency to make any changes to increase security. She says Oahu’s water supply is constantly monitored with surveillance cameras.

“Do you go back when something went wrong, or is it you can see if something is about to happen?” KHON2 asked.

“Yes, we do real-time,” said Pahinui.

“So if there’s something suspicious going on, somebody can go look at it?” KHON2 asked.

“Yes,” she said.

We’ve learned that the Board of Water Supply has 171 reservoirs which distributes drinkable water supplied by 192 booster pumps. They come from 194 groundwater wells.

Pahinui tells us they are constantly monitored by security cameras, and patrols are also sent to the sites.

Testing the water is another integral part of keeping the water safe. At the Molokai reservoir, testing is done once a month. It’s more frequent on Oahu.

The Board of Water Supply says water testing on Oahu is done regularly. Samples are taken from the different distribution centers every day to make sure that the water is safe to drink.

Pahinui says crews go to the different sites and wind up doing doing 28,000 chemical tests every year.

“If we were to find a breach, we call our security, we call HPD to investigate immediately,” she said. “We shut down our reservoir and we take it out of the system, so there’s no contamination to our system.”

Pahinui says nothing has been found in any of the tests. The Board of Water Supply is required by law to report it if the water has been contaminated.

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