Navy Updates Long-Term Drinking Water Data, Shows No Fuel Contamination
28 October 2022
From Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – The Navy, in coordination with the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), released the latest update of its monthly long-term monitoring (LTM) drinking water data for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), which continues to show no fuel contamination.
Period Four data, collected from June through September across the 19 Navy water distribution zones and posted on the https://jbphh-safewaters.org website, shows drinking water continues to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DOH standards.
On Sept. 12, the Navy notified the DOH that it had detected elevated levels of lead from a bathroom that was closed for renovations in a non-residential building located in Halsey Terrace (Zone F2). The sample tested positive for lead at a level of 42.0 parts per billion (ppb). Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the Lead and Copper Rule action level for lead is 15 ppb. The Navy contacted the facility manager the same day and advised them not to consume the water in the building or use it for oral hygiene.
The Navy flushed and sampled all faucets in the facility, and re-sampling detected lead in another sink from the same bathroom at a level of 20.6 ppb. The building was flushed again and all faucets were re-sampled, results from the final sampling showed no exceedances.
These were the only exceedances out of samples taken across all zones from June through September.
Under an interagency-approved plan, the Navy water system is in a two-year period of LTM. This includes testing about 7,800 samples from roughly 55% of residences and other facilities on the system for more than 60 different contaminants, using EPA-certified laboratories and methods.
Under the plan, the Navy has sampled 5% of homes and other buildings in each zone of the Navy water system for the first three months after the DOH amended that zone’s health advisory (a total of 15% in each zone after three months). Now in monitoring period four, which runs from June through December 2022, 10% of all homes and other buildings on the system will be sampled. Sampling results will be posted monthly on the Safe Waters website following DOH review.
All schools, child development, and medical centers continue to be sampled regularly during each period of the plan.
In addition to summary reports for each zone, specific sampling results for the homes and other buildings that were sampled are posted on Safe Waters page for each zone. Results are grouped by category, such as residences, other buildings, schools, and child development centers, and listed by street address.
Sampling locations for homes in each zone are chosen as a geographic representation of the zone, based on their location on the neighborhood distribution system. Different homes will be chosen during each phase to provide a good geographic spatial representation of homes sampled.
All results are validated to state and federal drinking water requirements, including the incident-specific parameters (ISPs) set by the DOH for the Navy water system.
Sample results are generally categorized as non-detect, detect, or exceed. If a sample exceeds action levels for contaminants, the resident or building point of contact will be personally notified and additional sampling will be performed.
The following information is provided to help interpret the data:
- Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) tests look for many petroleum-related compounds and are done in addition to standard drinking water tests.
- Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) are established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are the maximum permissible level of contaminants in water which is delivered to any user of a public water system.
- Environmental Action Levels (EALs) are established by the Hawaii DOH and are concentrations of contaminants in drinking water and other media (e.g., soil, soil gas, and groundwater) below which the contaminants are assumed to not pose a significant threat to human health or the environment. Exceeding the Tier 1 EAL does not necessarily indicate that contamination at the site poses environmental hazards but generally warrants additional investigation.
- All values are in parts per billion (ppb), which is equal to micrograms per liter (µg/L).
- The Method Detection Limit (MDL) is the lowest concentration at which an analyte (chemical subject that is being analyzed) can be detected in a sample.
For more information on these actions, go to the news section of http://www.navy.mil/jointbasewater.
For more information on long-term monitoring of the Navy water system, go to https://jbphh-safewaters.org.