WRRC 2024 Spring Seminar

March 8, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Mānoa Campus, Zoom Meeting

Empowering Communities: WRRC's Efforts in the Aftermath of Maui's 2023 Wildfires

by Dr. Chris Shuler

The devastating wildfires that struck Maui in August 2023 resulted in tragic impacts, including loss of life and property damage. However, the interaction between wildfire smoke and melting pipes also introduced the potential for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) to contaminate municipal drinking water systems, posing serious health risks and sparking a potential health crisis for the impacted communities. In this presentation, I will discuss WRRC's response efforts to the fires and the unsafe water advisory issued by County of Maui’s Department of Water Supply (DWS) on August 11th. We swiftly mobilized a team within the impacted communities to initiate a water sampling program and developed an online platform to provide vital information, including sampling requests, access to data, news updates, and FAQs. I will present the preliminary results from our water sampling and discuss how we plan to use this data to gain new insights into this recently discovered pathway of contamination. Throughout the last six months, our primary focus has remained on community engagement and outreach during the response phase of the disaster, ensuring that affected residents receive the water quality support and information they need to effectively navigate the crisis.

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WRRC, Mānoa Campus

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Zhiyue Wang, 956-7298,

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