DOH declares Navy drinking water distribution system Zones B1, G1, H1 safe
WHAT: Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Declares Drinking Water Distribution System Recovery Plan Zones B1, G1, and H1 Safe; Health Advisory Amended; Residents Allowed to Drink Tap Water
WHERE: Zone B1, McGrew, Halawa
Zone G1, Camp Smith
Zone H1, Aliamanu Military Reservation (AMR)
The DOH health advisory remains in place for Zones H2 and H3, which are also labeled as Aliamanu Military Reservation
WHEN: March 3, 2022
BACKGROUND: All Navy water system users in Zones B1, G1, and H1 may now use water for all purposes including drinking, cooking, and oral hygiene. This includes consumption by pets.
The Navy water system’s source water is coming from the Navy’s Waiawa Shaft. The Waiawa Shaft water has been tested to verify that it is safe to drink. The Navy’s Red Hill Shaft, which is contaminated, has been disconnected from the water system.
DOH and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) subject matter experts completed a final review of all sample data and how the Navy water system maintains operations to ensure safe drinking water.
DOH and EPA oversaw months of work to provide individuals and families in Zones B1, G1, and H1 with assurance of safe drinking water. This included overseeing flushing operations to confirm that the Navy followed flushing and testing protocol to verify that contamination was removed from the drinking water system.
One sample collected from a home in Zone B1 initially tested above the DOH Incident Specific Parameter for bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, also known as di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate or DEHP. The home was re-flushed and re-sampled. Subsequently, all sampled homes and buildings meet DOH’s DEHP screening level of 6 parts per billion.
An independent, third-party laboratory incorrectly reported the presence of bis(2-chloroethyl)ether (BCEE) in samples in Zones B1 and H1. The Interagency Drinking Water System Team (IDWST) investigation determined, in agreement with the laboratory, that the initial BCEE results were a false-positive. As members of the IDWST, EPA and DOH concur with this conclusion. The IDWST 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’s joint plan to draw samples from more than 900, or at least 10% of homes, and 100% of schools and child development centers on the overall Navy water system provides accurate data in determining that the water in all homes and buildings is safe. Additional homes and buildings will be sampled as part of a long-term monitoring plan.
The decision to amend the health advisory and declare the water in Zones B1, G1, and H1 safe was made after DOH’s multiple lines of evidence confirmed that no contamination is B1, G1, and H1. DOH’s investigation showed:
Reported sources of contamination are contained
- The Navy’s Red Hill Shaft is physically disconnected from the Navy water system.
Source water from the Waiawa Shaft is safe to drink
- Sample results show the water meets State and Federal regulations and project screening levels of the incident specific parameters.
No additional contamination is occurring in the water system
- A Cross Connection Control investigation shows the distribution system is protected, resulting in no additional sources of contamination.
Water within the distribution system is safe to drink
- The completion of the zone flushing plan implementation demonstrates the entire zone is flushed.
- Sample results show the water in the distribution system meets State and Federal regulations and project screening levels of the incident specific parameters.
- Drinking water does not show sheen, olfactory evidence, or other qualitative methods of petroleum.
Water in homes/building plumbing is safe to drink
- The Flushing Plan includes procedures to ensure no service connections will re-contaminate the distribution system.
- Samples were collected from homes and buildings three days after flushing. This stagnation period was built in to detect possible leaching of contaminants from pipes or other plumbing.
- Sample results show water in premise plumbing of homes/buildings meet State and Federal regulations and project screening levels of the incident specific parameters.
If Navy water system users have a question or concern about the quality of their water, please contact DOH at [email protected] or 808-586-4258.
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