Two of 122 Samples Detect Lead Exceedances in Pearl Harbor Buildings

06 April 2022
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – The Navy is working with the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) to validate detections of lead contamination in two sinks on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and to take appropriate remedial action. On April 2, the Navy notified DOH that it had detected elevated levels of lead from an indoor staff
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific logos

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – The Navy is working with the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) to validate detections of lead contamination in two sinks on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and to take appropriate remedial action.

On April 2, the Navy notified DOH that it had detected elevated levels of lead from an indoor staff bathroom sink at the Montessori Center on Makalapa, located in Zone E1 (Makalapa).

On April 5, the Navy notified DOH that it had detected elevated levels of lead from a residential building in Radford Terrace, located in Zone F2 (Catlin Park, Maloelap, Doris Miller, Halsey Terrace, Radford Terrace).

These exceedances are the only two out of 122 samples taken to date in zones E1 and F2 while conducting long-term monitoring (Stage 5) of the Navy water system on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in order to ensure that water from the system remains safe. Under an interagency-approved flushing and sampling plan, the Navy water system is now in a two-year period of long-term monitoring. This includes testing about 6,000 more samples from roughly 55% of residences and other facilities on the system.

“Nothing is more important than the health, safety, and well-being of our people and their families,” said Rear Adm. Tim Kott, commander, Navy Region Hawaii. “The water in the Navy’s water distribution system is safe, and we are conducting long-term monitoring efforts to ensure that. In each of these cases, the Navy immediately contacted the building occupants and the Hawaii Department of Health. With DOH’s concurrence, the Navy is conducting further analysis and remedial actions including taking those fixtures out of service and conducting additional sampling to determine the sources of the exceedances. We will continue to work with our partners at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure that water from the Navy water system remains safe for all uses.”

The initial sample at the Montessori Center on Makalapa was taken March 22 from an indoor staff bathroom sink. The sample tested positive for lead at a level of 30.2 parts per billion (ppb). Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the Lead and Copper Rule action level for lead is 15 ppb. This exceedance was the only one reported of the five samples collected from the Montessori Center on Makalapa.

The school principal was notified April 1, as soon as the Navy received initial sample results indicating a possible exceedance for lead. The sink was immediately secured from use.

The Navy determined, in coordination with DOH, that the next steps were to replace the faucet, then flush and re-sample water from the faucet. The sink will remain secured until validated re-sampling results are received. This was the only exceedance reported in Zone E1 out of 24 total samples taken in March 2022.

The initial sample at the residence in Radford Terrace was taken April 1 from an indoor sink. The sample tested positive for lead at a level of 20.6 parts per billion (ppb). Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the Lead and Copper Rule action level for lead is 15 ppb. This was the only exceedance reported in Zone F2 out of 98 total samples taken in March and April 2022.

The Navy immediately contacted the residents and advised them not to consume the water, but that all other uses were acceptable, and began providing bottled water for consumption.

The Navy determined, in coordination with DOH, that the next steps were to secure the sink from use and sample all fixtures in the house in order to determine the source of the elevated lead level. Additional sampling is being conducted April 6.

The DOH has a fact sheet for corrective actions people can take to reduce their exposure to lead in their drinking water at: https://health.hawaii.gov/heer/files/2021/06/WIIN-Corrective-Action-Factsheet.pdf.

The DOH amended its Nov. 29, 2021, public health advisory for JBPHH for Zone E1 on March 8, declaring that water in the zone was safe to use for all purposes.

The DOH amended the advisory for Zone F2 on March 11, declaring that water in the zone was safe to use for all purposes.

For more information on long-term monitoring of the Navy water system, see https://jbphh-safewaters.org.

Once finalized and validated, test results can be found at www.navy.mil/jointbasewater.

More information for those impacted by the water issue can be found at www.navy.mil/jointbasewater.

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