ASK THE MAYOR
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Q: When are we going to finish paving the rest of Omaopio Road? This would be from the landfill up to where it was paved a couple years ago.
Q: I am concerned about Pulehu Road. It is in desperate need of repaving in the mid-to-lower part, above the dump. People are driving over the centerline to avoid the multitude of potholes. Also, the intersection at the bottom of the road with Hansen is dangerous. It has very poor visability and is scary to cross. Are there any plans to fix any of these issues in the near future?
A: You’re both asking questions about the same road, as Omaopio turns into Pulehu and vice versa. The Department of Public Works has requested funds as part of its fiscal year 2019 budget to fix Omaopio/Pulehu Road. If the County Council does not approve those funds, the department will continue to do spot fixes on the road. However, I am hopeful that the funds will be approved this year so we can begin the work.
Q: I was wondering if it is illegal for tow trucks to be driving around with their lights flashing. Maui County seems to be the only place that this is happening. I thought the lights were to only be used when they are on the side of the road doing work. I have seen tourists see them coming and pull over to the side of the road thinking it is an emergency vehicle. If it is in fact illegal for them to be driving around with flashing lights, why aren’t police giving them tickets? Semi-trucks carry much bigger loads, unless they’re oversized loads, and do not use flashing lights.
A: I do know that only police, fire, ambulance and other emergency response vehicles can have red or blue flashing lights, and there are several laws on the books regarding their use. Yellow lights are less regulated. To help me answer your question, I asked the Maui Police Department about this. Here’s its response: “There is no Hawaii state law, county code or federal motor vehicle MVSS (Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) law regarding the use of an activated flashing amber and white lights while towing the vehicle on the roadway. The only requirements are these: Tow trucks must be equipped with the requirement lamps and markers, etc. There is nothing regarding the use of an activated flashing amber and white light while in tow operation.”
Q: My questions are: 1. Is the county’s water supply safe to drink? 2. Does the Upcountry cesspools affect the county’s water supply? 3. If so, how does the water department make our water safe to consume? 4. Water that is maybe contaminated or doesn’t meet federal standards, is it treated at the water treatment plants at Kihei, Lahaina, Kahului? If so, how does the water Upcountry get treated?
A: First of all, all of the county water that we process is safe to drink and meets or exceeds all state and federal standards. Upcountry cesspools have not affected our wells or sources. Also, you should note that Maui has a lot of surface water, and so there’s no way cesspools can affect those surface sources of
water at all. Here is a comprehensive list for you.
Upcountry gets it water from three water systems:
≤ Upper Kula is mostly surface water from the Waikamoi rainforest.
≤ Lower Kula is a mix of surface water from the Wailoa Ditch, the Makawao rainforest and groundwater from Pookela Well.
≤ Makawao is also a mix of sources from surface water from the Piiholo treatment plant (Makawao rainforest) and groundwater wells at Haiku, Kaupakalua and Pookela.
Central Maui gets water from Wailuku, Waihee and north Waihee and feeds that water to the Paia/Kuau area.
Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email email@example.com.