Kokua Line: Why was Mililani Mauka tap water murky?

Apr. 4—Mililani Mauka's public water supply is fine, in quantity and quality, a Board of Water Supply spokesperson says.

Question : Is the Board of Water Supply aware that residents in Mililani Mauka are experiencing murky water coming out of their faucets ? If yes, how and when are they resolving this issue ?

Answer : Yes. This harmless sign of air in the water, due to a pump malfunction, affected about 2, 000 customers in Mililani Mauka and should have dissipated by now, except perhaps for customers who have not run their faucets enough to clear the air from their waterlines, Kathleen Elliott-­Pahinui, a spokesperson for the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, said in a phone call Wednesday.

The agency became aware of the issue around March 27, took the well with the malfunctioning pump offline and has ordered a new pump, which will take a couple of months to arrive from the mainland, Elliott-Pahinui said. There won't be a water shortage in the meantime, because the offline well is one of several that serves Mililani Mauka, she said.

The failed pump will stay in place until the new one arrives, at which point BWS will remove it and can further investigate the malfunction. "The pump is dead and that well is out of service, " she said. "But we won't know exactly what's wrong with the pump until we take it out."

At any rate, even when the water was murky it was safe to drink, based on tests at the well source, Elliott-Pahinui said. Its cloudy appearance coming out of household faucets was caused by air in the waterline, she said, which commonly occurs after water main breaks and repairs, pump failures and repairs and even some home plumbing projects.

Mililani Mauka's public water supply is fine, in quantity and quality, she said.

As the agency's website explains, what the BWS calls "milky water " is caused by tiny air bubbles that make the water appear white or milky and could also cause a faucet to sputter. "Air bubbles in pipes do not affect the quality or safety of the water. Generally, if you let the water sit, the bubbles will dissipate, " it says, advising customers who experience this to fill a clean, clear glass from the tap and let it sit. If there is air in the tap water, the water will eventually clear, the website says.

Flushing out a property's waterlines generally resolves the issue. "If you suspect air in your lines, the easiest way to address this is to open a large tap, such as a bathtub faucet, while all other taps remain closed. Run the tap for five minutes, while monitoring for hissing or spitting sounds that may indicate air is still in the lines. Continue to run the water until no hissing or spitting sounds or additional air bubbles are released, " the website says.

If the water does not eventually turn clear or customers still have concerns about their water, they may call 808-748-5041, Elliott-­Pahinui said.

For more information, see.

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