Home News DOH says the Navy’s contaminated water system is now safe to use

DOH says the Navy’s contaminated water system is now safe to use

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kairaba Alidanburar, intelligence analyst, Combat Logistics Battalion 3, hands over a container of water in the Marine Corps Manana Housing Community, Pearl City, Hawaii, Dec. 13, 2021. Service members provided a secondary source of potable water to Manana Housing residents. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Samantha Sanchez)

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

The final four zones in the Navy’s petroleum-contaminated water system on Oahu now have water that is deemed safe to drink.

The state Department of Health has now amended its health advisories for all 19 in the water system.

“I can’t emphasize enough how much I admire the strength of the individuals and families impacted by this crisis, ” said the DOH Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho in a statement. “These last amendments represent months of work to ensure that the 19 flushing zones and Manana Housing have access to safe drinking water. However, our work is not done. We will continue rigorous oversight to protect drinking water, including our aquifer, and will hold the Navy accountable to protect public health and the environment.”

The last zones to be cleared are labeled Zones C1, C2, C3 and D3, and together include 950 homes.

Zone D3 is home to nearly all the residences cleared today. It includes Earhart Village housing, Mokulele Elementary School, Nimitz Elementary School, Assets School, Holy Family Catholic Academy, Hickam School Age Care, Hickam Teen Center, Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, Church of Christ at Pearl Harbor and the Hickam Main and Hickam West child development centers.

Zone C1 is home to Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters and Pier Side CDC. Zone C2 includes Hale Alii, Marine Barracks and Hospital Point housing communities and Commander, Navy Region Hawaii headquarters. In Zone C3 are the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and some military housing in Hospital Point.

The DOH is now waiting for more data from the Navy for non-residential areas of the Navy’s water system, and it expects to lift the health advisory for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Water System and Aliamanu Military Reservation Public Water System once the Navy verifies the information.

The health department issued a “do not drink ” advisory in November after fuel from the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility contaminated its drinking water system, which serves Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and surrounding neighborhoods. Since then the Navy has been cleaning the water, which has been sampled by the IDWST. The team consists of state and federal representatives from the DOH, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Navy and Army.

“The Interagency Drinking Water System Team that we formed has now completed its work to restore safe drinking water. This does not mean that our role regarding this challenge is ending : we will team up with other agency partners to monitor drinking water safety going forward, ” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman in a statement. ” EPA acknowledges the great hardship this crisis has posed to the community, and we will continue to be vigilant in our oversight responsibility.”

A water sample collected from an indoor sink at a CDC in Zone C1 was found to have lead levels of 49 parts per billion, which is above the action level and DOH Incident Specific Parameter of the 15 parts per billion. The fixture was replaced and sampled and flushed again. Subsequent test results were below the action level for lead.

In Zone C2, a sample collected from a Navy Exchange facility tested above the DOH’s screening level for total petroleum hydrocarbons. The TPH level was at 211 parts per billion. The facility was tested and flushed again, and following samples met the DOH screen level for TPH.


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