Lab Misreported Chemical in Water

01 March 2022
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – An independent, third-party laboratory incorrectly reported the presence of bis(2-chloroethyl)ether (BCEE) in 12 initial Navy Water System sample results collected Jan. 6-12, 2022, from fire hydrants in eight flushing zones (A3, B1, C1, C2, F2, H1, H2, and H3). The Interagency Drinking Water System Team
Department of the Navy, Department of the Army, State of Hawaii, Hawaii State Department of Health and United States Environmental Protection Agency logos

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – An independent, third-party laboratory incorrectly reported the presence of bis(2-chloroethyl)ether (BCEE) in 12 initial Navy Water System sample results collected Jan. 6-12, 2022, from fire hydrants in eight flushing zones (A3, B1, C1, C2, F2, H1, H2, and H3).

The Interagency Drinking Water System Team (IDWST), which is composed of representatives from the Navy, Army, Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, investigates every contaminant result that exceeds drinking water standards. The investigation evaluated multiple lines-of-evidence to protect public health.

As part of the investigation, the Navy resampled all locations where BCEE was initially detected. The laboratory reviewed the original samples and the new samples, and did not detect BCEE in any of them. The IDWST investigation determined, in agreement with the laboratory, that the initial BCEE results were a false-positive. The laboratory implemented corrective actions. Based on these results, there is no concern for health risks from BCEE in the drinking water.

The summary report provided to the Navy determined that the 12 indicated samples were preliminarily reported in error and were amended in the final results to be non-detects for BCEE.

Bis(2-chloroethyl)ether (BCEE) is a chemical used for manufacturing pesticides and as a solvent for fats, waxes, and greases. It has also been used in paints and varnishes, as a cleaning fluid for textiles, and in the purification of oils and gasoline. It is not found in JP-5.

The Hawaii DOH public health advisory remains in effect for these eight zones, and Navy Water System users in these zones should not use the water for drinking, cooking, or oral hygiene. The IDWST will perform a thorough review of all results, including the re-sampling for these zones before submitting a package for Hawaii DOH review. Once Hawaii DOH determines the water is safe to drink, Hawaii DOH will amend the health advisory for each zone, as applicable.

The Hawaii DOH’s Nov. 29, 2021, public health advisory for JBPHH remains in effect for all zones except Zone I1 (Red Hill Housing) and Zone A1 (Pearl City Peninsula).

For more information on water recovery efforts, please see: https://www.cpf.navy.mil/JBPHH-Water-Updates/

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