Categorized | Health, Kilauea Eruption, Volcano

Department of Health recommendations for catchment water use during volcanic activity


Residential rainwater catchments are not regulated as public drinking water supplies and there is no government agency oversight of these systems in Hawaii.

Homeowners and users are responsible for their maintenance, proper usage and for monitoring their own water quality.

Activity at Kilauea volcano has raised concerns about the possible impacts to rainwater catchment systems on the island of Hawaii. As the ash has been found to contain various metals, catchment users should try to avoid accumulating it in their water tanks. The Department of Health (DOH), Safe Drinking Water Branch (SDWB) has summarized the various recommendations made thus far, to help protect the users of these systems located downwind of volcanic activity.


  • Temporarily disconnect the gutters feeding into the tank.
  • Do not reconnect the system until the ash and debris are washed off of the roof and out of the gutters.
  • Place a free-standing or self-supporting non-porous canopy to cover mesh tank covers so that less debris will get in.
  • Obtain water from the County of Hawaii Department of Water Supply’s emergency spigots.

Full Department of Health PDF information sheet here.

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources info on water catchment systems here.

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