DOH News Release: DOH declares four Navy drinking water distribution system zones safe

Posted on Mar 18, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU- The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH) today amended its health advisory for Zones C1, C2, C3, and D3 of the Navy water system. All Navy water system users in Zones C1, C2, C3, and D3 may now use water for all purposes, including drinking, cooking, and oral hygiene. This includes consumption by pets.

The health advisory for all 19 zones and Manana Housing has been amended and water in these zones is safe to drink. DOH is waiting for an additional line of evidence from the Navy regarding non-residential areas of the distribution system and expects to lift the health advisory for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Water System No. HI0000360 and consecutive Aliamanu Military Reservation Public Water System No. HI0000337 when the Navy verifies this information and the final Drinking Water Long-Term Monitoring Plan is approved by DOH.

“I can’t emphasize enough how much I admire the strength of the individuals and families impacted by this crisis,” said Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho. “These last amendments represent months of work to ensure that the 19 flushing zones and Manana Housing have access to safe drinking water. However, our work is not done. We will continue rigorous oversight to protect drinking water, including our aquifer, and will hold the Navy accountable to protect public health and the environment.”

Zone C1, Sub Base

Click here to view the completed checklist that supports DOH’s health advisory amendment for Zone C1.

Zone C2, Hale Alii, Marine Barracks, Hospital Point

Click here to view the completed checklist that supports DOH’s health advisory amendment for Zone C2.

Zone C3, Shipyard, Hospital Point

Click here to view the completed checklist that supports DOH’s health advisory amendment for Zone C3.

Zone D3, Earhart Village

Click here to view the completed checklist that supports DOH’s health advisory amendment for Zone D3.

Click here for an updated map on zone status.

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 C1, C2, C3, and D3 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.

An independent, third-party laboratory incorrectly reported the presence of bis(2-chloroethyl)ether (BCEE) in samples in Zones C1 and C2. The Interagency Drinking Water System Team (IDWST) investigation determined, in agreement with the laboratory, that the initial BCEE results were false-positives. 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.

One sample collected from an indoor sink at a Child Development Center in Zone C1 exceeded the action level and DOH Incident Specific Parameter of 15 parts per billion for lead. The sample result for lead was 49 parts per billion. The fixture was replaced, and the sink was resampled, re-flushed, and then sampled again. Subsequently, the test results for all samples were below the action level.

A sampled collected from a Navy Exchange facility in Zone C2 initially tested above the DOH total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) screening level of a combined 211 parts per billion. The facility was re-flushed and re-tested. Subsequently, all samples met DOH’s TPH screening level.

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 drinking water long-term monitoring plan.

The decision to amend the health advisory and declare the water in Zones C1, C2, C3, and D3 safe was made after DOH’s multiple lines of evidence confirmed that no contamination is entering the Navy water system and no contamination remains in Zones C1, C2, C3, and D3. DOH’s investigation showed:

  • 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.

Click here for a full list of DOH’s screening criteria.

Click here to view validated testing results.

Click here for a one pager on how to read laboratory results.

Click here to view the full data package for Zone C1 that led DOH to issue this amendment.

Click here to view the full data package for Zone C2 that led DOH to issue this amendment.

Click here to view the full data package for Zone C3 that led DOH to issue this amendment.

Click here to view the full data package for Zone D3 that led DOH to issue this amendment.

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Media Contact:

Katie Arita-Chang

Acting Communications Director

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (808) 286-4806