Hawaii Water responds to Environmental Working Group study

Protecting our customers’ health and safety is our highest priority, and we work to ensure our water complies with all water quality standards, or maximum contaminant levels, set by federal and state public health experts to protect customers’ health and safety. These public health experts include toxicologists, epidemiologists, physicians, biostatisticians, and research scientists from the State of Hawaii Department of Health – Safe Drinking Water Branch and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Environmental Working Group published a new study in the journal Heliyon today stating that carcinogens found in tap water (such as arsenic, disinfection byproducts, uranium, radium) cumulatively could still cause cancer over a person’s lifetime, even when the constituents individually meet water quality standards.

When setting maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), the public health experts carefully weigh not just economic but also technological feasibility to treat and detect the constituents with the risk when drinking the water over a person’s entire lifetime. Even though constituent levels may not be treated to zero (or non-detect), these public health experts have confirmed that, when under the MCL, consumers can use and drink the water with confidence.

We want our customers to know as much as possible about the quality of their water. That’s why we encourage all of our customers to review the annual report for their water system. Data for every constituent detected in the local water supply is included in our annual Consumer Confidence Report. These reports can be accessed on our web site or by calling our Customer Center.

This issue does shed light on the importance of protecting our water resources. While we are doing our part to treat the water and meet the standards the public health experts have set, it’s important that our population as a whole focuses on being good stewards of the environment and takes steps to prevent impacting the water supply.
Additional information can be found at the State of Hawaii Department of Health-Safe Drinking Water Branch and the Environmental Protection Agency.