Navy Finds High Levels Of Petroleum, Lead, Other Compounds In Tap Water - Honolulu Civil Beat

The Navy released new water testing results on Friday night and Saturday afternoon that found high levels of contaminants in the water of an Oahu elementary school, a child development center, military housing communities and on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam.

The testing is part of the Navy’s ongoing response to its Red Hill tainted water crisis.

Here’s what was found:

  • A sample taken from a utility sink at a Pier Side Child Development Center tested positive for lead at a level of 49 parts per billion. The state “environmental action level” for lead is 15 parts per billion. (Correction: The Navy initially said the sink was outdoors but on March 2 said it was an indoor sink in the center’s laundry room.)
  • Testing at a home at Halsey Terrace at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam found petroleum levels of 460 parts per billion, more than double the acceptable contamination level set by the Hawaii Health Department, which is 211 parts per billion.
  • Samples from two non-residential buildings in Catlin Park and Radford Terrace showed high levels of a compound commonly added to plastics to make them flexible. Levels of the compound came in at 23.8 and 18.3 parts per billion — above the allowable 6 parts per billion. Officials said the compound, identified as DEHP, is not a known component of jet fuel.
  • There were levels of DEHP at a vacant home on base that came in at 42.4 parts per billion. The home was located in Zone B1, which is composed of the McGrew and Halawa neighborhoods.
  • DEHP at 26.4 parts per billion was found in a non-residential building located at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.
  • A Navy Exchange facility near Hale Alii in Zone C2 tested positive for total petroleum hydrocarbons, or TPH, at a level of 260 parts per billion. The state’s safety threshold is 211 parts per billion.
  • The Navy said it also found elevated levels of beryllium at Pearl Harbor Elementary School. According to the EPA, the limit set for beryllium in drinking water is 4 parts per billion. The sample taken from an outdoor sink at the school showed 5.7 parts per billion.

“The Interagency Drinking Water System Team determined the next step was to re-flush and re-sample the impacted buildings, both non-residential and homes,” the Navy said in a news release.

Regarding the lead found at Pier Side CDC, Navy spokesman Sean Kekoa Gano said the sample was taken from an outdoor sink not intended for drinking use. There was no indication of lead elsewhere at the facility, and there is no reason to believe the exceedance was related to the jet fuel contamination of the Red Hill well, he said in a statement.

“As part of the remediation plan, the fixture from which the exceedance was discovered has been replaced,” he said. “Since its replacement, the facility has been re-flushed and re-sampled.”

As the Navy continues to respond to the contamination crisis, “do not drink” advisories remain in effect for all neighborhoods that have not been cleared. Tap water should also not be used for cooking or hygiene.

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