Jan 04, 2022

Navy Extends Deadline to Clean Pearl Harbor's Contaminated Drinking Water

Navy officials told state legislators the project to restore safe drinking water to the approximately 93,000 people impacted by the spill will not be complete until the end of January

drinking water

The Navy extended its timeline to clean up the Pearl Harbor drinking water system, which was contaminated in a jet fuel spill in November 2021.

According to United Press International News, the Navy determined that its water well around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, a U.S. military base adjacent to Honolulu, Hawaii, was contaminated from a jet fuel spill.

Navy officials told state legislators the project to restore safe drinking water to the approximately 93,000 people impacted by the spill will not be complete until the end of January. A briefing revealed more information.

Some military families were displaced due to the water contamination but could start moving home soon, reported United Press International News.

More than 4,000 military families left their homes due to the contamination, and about 3,400 have moved into hotel rooms.

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The Navy was issued a cease and desist order by the Hawaii Department of Health after the Navy flushed out hydrants to clear its main distribution lines after the contamination without a permit. There were also concerns that the flushing was contaminating storm drains, which lead into oceans and streams.

"The plan includes complete flushing of the entire Navy system, from the source to the faucet, with a comprehensive series of water tests in every neighborhood to certify that drinking water meets safe drinking water standards," said Navy Rear Admiral Blake Converse at the briefing, reported United Press International News.

Additionally, another concern was when the Navy asked residents to run water and flush their toilets to get rid of contamination, which resulted in reports of overwhelming fuel fumes. 

The Navy is working closely with the Hawaii Department of Health and the U.S. EPA to resolve the drinking water issue.

According to the Navy, this entails flushing the main distribution lines carrying water to neighborhoods, then flushing individual homes, schools and businesses. Approximately 10% of homes will be sampled to ensure compliance, according to the Navy, reported United Press International News.

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro apologized for the spill in a statement.

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