Apr 11, 2019

Air Force Base Used Pesticide to Sanitize Drinking Water

An air force base in Guam used pesticidal pool chlorinator in drinking water, according to the Guam Environmental Protection Agency

An air force base in Guam used pesticidal pool chlorinator in drinking water, according to the Guam Environmental Protection Agency
An air force base in Guam used pesticidal pool chlorinator in drinking water, according to the Guam Environmental Protection Agency.

In Guam, the Andersen Air Force Base has been fined by the territory’s Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) for using pool chlorination tabs that were classified as a pesticide to sanitize drinking water.

According to Air Force Times, Andersen said in a release that it had used Pool Time chlorination tabs to sanitize the water in a half-million gallon storage tank, which provided water to facilities on its Northwest Field.

However, the chlorination tabs have been classified by the Guam EPA as a pesticide, Andersen said. The base said it stopped using those tabs as soon as it found out, according to Air Force Times.

Andersen said while the chlorination tab was improperly used, the water was safe to drink at all times.

“Both Guam EPA and Andersen AFB concluded that the use of the Pool Time chlorination tabs would not result in any adverse health effects,” Andersen said in the release, according to Air Force Times. “Andersen AFB conducts routine analysis of its water supply and at no point was it deemed unsafe.”

According to Air Force Times, on Jan. 22 the Guam EPA issued a violation notice to the base’s civil engineer, Lt. Col. Todd Inouye. That notice said EPA representatives discovered the improper use of the chlorination tabs — which contain the active ingredient trichloro-s-triazinetrione — during a routine sanitary inspection on Dec. 28.

The tabs are only meant to be used in swimming pools, and are not intended to be used to sanitize drinking water, the Guam EPA said in the notice.

The Guam EPA issued a $750 fine to Andersen, which the base agreed to pay. According to Air Force Times, Andersen personnel who may have been exposed to the drinking water were also sent a public notice on Jan. 15 about the contamination. The Northwest Field tank does not provide water to any other parts of Andersen, the base said.

According to Air Force Times, in a fact sheet provided by Andersen, the base said that bioenvironmental tests performed on the water confirmed it remained potable. Nevertheless, the Guam EPA ordered the tank to be drained and flushed as a precaution.

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