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Post-Exceedance Drinking Water Results Confirm Water Safe to Drink

21 March 2022
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – The Interagency Drinking Water System Team (IDWST) is providing a summary to show drinking water resamples from locations that previously reported exceedances with the Navy water system fall within drinking water standards set by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH). An exceedance denotes a test result
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 – The Interagency Drinking Water System Team (IDWST) is providing a summary to show drinking water resamples from locations that previously reported exceedances with the Navy water system fall within drinking water standards set by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH).

An exceedance denotes a test result above the Incident Specific Parameter (ISP) levels for a substance. The DOH set ISPs for the Red Hill Shaft fuel contamination remediation efforts.

A total of 17 exceedances that required follow-up actions were identified during home and building (stage four) testing by the IDWST. Samples were collected between Jan. 15 and Feb. 26, 2022. These exceedances were reported in 11 of the 19 zones of the Navy water system impacted by the Red Hill shaft contamination (A1, A2, A3, B1, C1, C2, C3, D1, D2, F1, F2). Exceedances that required remediation were detected in nine residential units, seven non-residential facilities, and one hydrant.

The IDWST, composed of representatives from the Navy, Army, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and DOH, performed a thorough review of all results and identified additional actions for exceedances on a case-by-case basis. Re-flushing and resampling activities were the additional efforts required in most cases.

As a result of the completion of all additional actions and follow-on testing, the health advisory has been amended by the DOH as safe to drink in all 19 zones, including those with a previously reported exceedance. DOH issued amendments for each zone after ensuring that remedial steps were completed, analyzing new sample results, and determining that all samples within a zone met the Incident Specific Parameters.

SGS-Wheat Ridge, one of the independent laboratories used to test Navy water samples, determined that all bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) exceedances were false positives attributable to laboratory contamination. Initial results showed five exceedances of DEHP in zones B1, C3, D1, and F2. All locations were resampled, re-flushed, and sampled again prior to the laboratory determining contamination had led to false positive results. The laboratory memorandum can be found at https://jbphh-safewaters.org/public/Corrective_Action_for_B2EHP_Contamination.pdf.

Below is a list of the remaining 12 exceedances, which were previously reported by the IDWST or DOH, and the steps taken to address them:

  • A total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) exceedance was detected in a residence in Pearl City Peninsula (A1). In response, the Navy re-flushed, and resampled.
  • Two exceedances of TPH were detected in Zone D1. TPH-Diesel was detected in one residence, while TPH-Oil was detected in a different residence. In response, the Navy re-flushed and resampled.
  • TPH was detected in a residence on Ford Island (A2). In response, the Navy again sampled, re-flushed and resampled.
  • Two samples showed an exceedance of beryllium and Total Organic Carbon (TOC) in two residences located within the Hale Na Koa, Officer Field Area, Onizuka Village housing areas (D2). In response, the Navy collected another sample from each location, re-flushed and resampled.
  • Beryllium was detected in Pearl Harbor Elementary School within the Moanalua Terrace area (F1). In response, the Navy collected another sample, re-flushed and resampled.
  • TPH was detected in a residence in Halsey Terrace (F2). In response, the Navy sampled, re-flushed and resampled.
  • TPH was detected in a Navy Exchange Facility (C2). In response, the Navy sampled, re-flushed and resampled.
  • Lead was detected in an indoor utility sink at Pier Side Child Development Center (C1). In response, the Navy replaced the fixture, re-flushed and resampled.
  • TPH was detected in a sample taken from a fire hydrant located in Zone D2. The IDWST directed the sampling of nearby fire hydrants for the contaminant. All subsequent samples met DOH’s Incident Specific Parameter.
  • A sample from a school in Zone A3 detected total organic carbon (TOC). Subsequently, a resample was taken from the original faucet. All subsequent samples came back as clean.
  • A sample from a vacant residence in Zone D1 detected TOC. The home was re-flushed, and the kitchen and indoor utility sinks were resampled.

Results of resampling at the above locations showed no exceedances.

In addition to previously reported exceedances, the DOH collected a sample from a vacant home in Zone A3 that detected the presence of lead. The IDWST directed the Navy to sample, re-flush and resample the home. All subsequent samples came back with no detection of lead.

A sample from the Hickam Officers’ Club in Zone D2 detected methylene chloride. The structure is unoccupied and closed for renovations. Because the structure is isolated from the water system by a containment backflow preventer, the IDWST determined that remediation efforts would be more effective after construction is complete and prior to occupancy. DOH required that the building continue to be cut off from the water distribution system. DOH also will require that the Navy take further steps to remediate the contamination, protect workers, and re-sample before the building can reopen to the public.

In addition to the tests above, 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). More information is available at https://www.cpf.navy.mil/News/Article/2951271/lab-misreported-chemical-in-water.

Detailed data reports are available on https://jbphh-safewaters.org

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