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Plan finalized for flushing of contaminated water from Navy's water system

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HONOLULU (KITV4) -- The finalized plan for the flushing of contaminated water from the Navy's water system was signed off on Friday, Dec. 17.

The Hawai'i Department of Health, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency all approving the "Drinking Water Sampling Plan."

Representatives from the Hawai'i Department of Health, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sign off on 'Drinking Water Sampling Plan.'

Representatives from the Hawai'i Department of Health, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sign off on 'Drinking Water Sampling Plan.

Those same agencies established the Interagency Drinking Water System Team with the goal of restoring safe drinking water to affected Joint Base Peal Harbor-Hickam housing communities.

The goals of the new IDWS Team are to:

  • Protect public health, safety, and the environment.
  • Ensure access to safe drinking water. 
  • Conduct sampling and testing of groundwater and drinking water consistent to a jointly agreed upon Sampling and Analysis Plan.
  • Monitor and address community concerns at impacted residences.
  • Implement flushing activities after a jointly agreed upon Flushing Plan.
Interagency Drinking Water System Team, sign water sampling plan

Interagency Drinking Water System Team, sign water sampling plan

The sampling plan outlines steps to ensure that the data collected is used as one of the multiple lines of evidence needed to understand when it is appropriate to return residents to their homes.

Steps include:

  • Collecting shaft water samples from the Waiawa Shaft, Halawa Shaft, and Red Hill Shaft to define contamination in the source water.
  • Identifying contaminated locations to prioritize flushing in the Department of Defense Water System.
  • Following approval of a flushing plan, collecting water samples from locations where flushing has been tentatively completed for confirmation of successful flushing.
  • Collecting drinking water samples from randomly selected taps of homes/buildings.
  • Collecting and analyzing drinking water results at various intervals 

KITV4's Lia Kamana breaks down the plan below:

The Hawai'i Department of Health, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency all approving the 'Drinking Water Sampling Plan.'

In addition to the IDWS Team, there is a Federal Interagency Working Group led by Meredith Berger, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment, and performing the duties of the Under Secretary of the Navy.

The federal agency is in response to the incident at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Representatives from state, local, and Native Hawaiian organizations were invited to exchange views and information. 

The IDWS Team is a result of this partnership, where subject matter experts across the whole of government are identifying methods to restore clean water to affected communities.

Statements from local, state, and federal officials regarding the 'Drinking Water Sampling Plan.'

CLAIRE E. WALDO, Capt, USAFThe Joint Water Distribution System Recovery Plan and enclosures finalized Friday include pictures and maps which contain details that, if released, could make vulnerable critical infrastructure systems. Staff is reviewing the documents as quickly as possible with the intent to release the plan in its entirety with these very narrow exceptions. We appreciate your patience as we work to complete the review as quickly as possible.

Craig Deatrick, director of U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Pacific  -  “The signing of this plan marks a major milestone as we strive to address the water challenges we face in partnership with the Hawai’i Department of Health, EPA and Navy."

Kathleen Ho, Hawaiʻi State Deputy Director of Environmental Health -  “The Hawaiʻi Department of Health continues to work toward the restoration of safe and reliable drinking water to Navy water system users in a manner that safeguards our precious natural resources and all Oʻahu residents. The Interagency Drinking Water System Team sets out a framework to ensure that actions are protective of public health and the environment.”

Deborah Jordan, Acting EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator -  “EPA is committed to ensuring tap water delivered to Navy water system users meets all State of Hawai’i and Federal drinking water requirements. This sampling plan cements all agencies’ agreement that the highest standards of sampling thresholds will be met before restrictions are lifted.”

Rear Adm. Blake Converse, Deputy Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet - “The Navy is working closely with the Department of Health and the EPA to quickly and safely restore safe drinking water to our residents. This interagency drinking water system team will ensure we stay tightly aligned as we step through the recovery process together.”

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz - “The EPA has the scientists and experts we need to better understand the extent of the contamination and how to address it. This is an urgent crisis that requires cooperation and the full weight of the federal government. I will continue to work closely with the EPA, state, county, and military leaders, and my colleagues in Congress to make sure we have the resources we need to address this crisis.”

U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono - “As multiple agencies continue to respond to this crisis, the need for coordination and clear and accurate communication to the public is critically important. I appreciate the Navy, Army, EPA, and HDOH entering into an interagency agreement to work together effectively towards a shared goal of getting safe drinking water to families in Oahu. I look forward to learning more about their plans and progress to achieving this shared mission.”

Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) - “It remains critical that all key stakeholders operate as a unified team with full transparency and cooperation all around. This plan is a critical part of that effort.”

U.S. Representative Kai Kahele - "There is no higher priority than the health and safety of our communities. The newly established partnership of the Interagency Drinking Water System Team requires the full collaboration and coordination of everyone involved. I will continue to work alongside our Hawaiʻi congressional delegation, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, the EPA, Navy, and Army to ensure the island of Oʻahu has safe drinking water for the short and long-term.”

Learn more about associated response actions by visiting the HDOH, Navy, and Army websites:

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