Residents of Ford Island, Hale Moku and Hokulani can resume drinking and cooking with their tap water, according to the Hawaii Department of Health, which lifted its drinking water advisory for those zones on the Navy’s water system today.
Fifteen more zones on the Navy’s water system are still awaiting clearance from DOH. Residents of Red Hill Housing and Pearl City Peninsula received clearance last month.
There are more than 900 homes in the zones cleared by DOH today, according to the Navy’s flushing plan.
“DOH and EPA oversaw months of work to provide individuals and families in Zones A2 and D1 with assurance of safe drinking water,” according to a DOH press release. “This included overseeing flushing operations to confirm that the Navy followed flushing and testing protocol to verify that contamination was removed from the drinking water system.”
DOH said that one water sample collected from Zone A2, which includes Ford Island, and two samples collected from Zone D1, which includes Hale Moku and Hokulani, tested above the screening level for total petroleum hydrocarbons during initial sampling. The homes in those zones were reflushed and resampled, with all test results coming back below the threshold, according to DOH.
“Through the tremendous efforts of hundreds of Navy personnel, along with DOH, Environmental Protection Agency, and our fellow military service partners, the Navy has officially restored safe drinking water to two additional zones, making a total of four out of 19 zones with amended health advisories,” said Vice Adm. Yancy Lindsey, commander of Navy Installations Command, in a press release. “This week, the Interagency Drinking Water System Team expects to deliver more water sampling packages to DOH for review and approval.”
Ford Island houses all branches of the military, though is predominantly Navy. It also includes Ford Island Child Development Center.
Hale Moku and Hokulani also houses predominantly Navy residents. The zone also includes Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary School and two child development centers – Center Drive and Kids Cove 24/7.
DOH also said today that the water at Manana Marine Corps Housing is safe to drink. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply began supplying water to the neighborhood in mid-November through an emergency connection just prior to the Navy’s water contamination emergency. The Navy’s water system was having “booster pump issues.”
“Complaints of water quality from Manana Housing coincided with increasing complaint calls from other areas of the Navy water system,” according to DOH. “As Manana housing was not receiving water from the Navy water system at the time of the incident, a separate investigation was completed.”
DOH said the water for Manana housing will be switched back to the Navy’s water system.
DOH issued a “do not drink” advisory for all residents on the Navy’s drinking water system, which serves Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and surrounding neighborhoods, in late November after the Navy and state health department were flooded with calls from residents reporting a fuel odor coming from their tap water. The Navy later confirmed that jet fuel from its Red Hill tank farm had leaked into its Red Hill drinking water shaft. That shaft was taken offline and the Navy is working to clean up the contamination. All of the water on the Navy’s drinking water system is currently coming from Waiawa shaft, a separate well, which has been tested and shown to be clean.