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JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – On March 28, the Navy notified the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) that it had detected elevated levels of mercury from a non-residential building located on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH).
The initial sample, taken March 16 as part of a long-term monitoring of the Navy water system on JBPHH, was taken from an indoor sink at an administrative building at Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary School, located in Zone D1. The sink was not regularly used by students. The faucet is the likely source of the exceedance, not the drinking water system, since no other samples collected in Zone D1 showed elevated readings of mercury. The sample tested positive for mercury at a level of 3.90 parts per billion (ppb). The federal Safe Drinking Water Act Maximum Contaminant Level for mercury is 2 ppb.
This exceedance was the only one reported of the five samples collected from Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary School. The Navy and DOH determined that the next steps were to secure the faucet from use; replace the faucet; then sample, flush, and re-sample water from the new faucet. The school principal was notified of the findings and the planned corrective actions March 28, the same day that validated sampling results were received. The sink was immediately secured, and the faucet was replaced March 30. The re-sampling process is in progress.
The DOH amended its Nov. 29, 2021, public health advisory for JBPHH for Zone D1 on March 1, declaring that water in the zone was safe to use for all purposes.
For more information, please see: https://www.cpf.navy.mil/JBPHH-Water-Updates/
For more information on mercury, please see: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations#Inorganic.