Tests from Red Hill water show no petroleum but some samples damaged in transit, Health Department says
The initial test results from a mainland lab show no clear findings of petroleum in water samples from the Navy's water system — but some samples were damaged in transit and were unable to be tested.
The Hawai‘i Department of Health received the test results from two sets of water samples it collected from the Navy water system in the past 10 days. One set was prior to receiving complaints, and the other after.
Both showed no clear relation to petroleum fuel, but four samples in the set taken after receiving complaints were damaged in transit.
The health department collected two drinking water samples from the Red Hill water supply shaft on Nov. 24 as part of routine testing. One was collected before passing through the chlorination system, and another after.
The results suggest a trace amount of heavy oil in the samples, but they were well below drinking water thresholds and not clearly related to petroleum fuel.
A second set was collected on Monday after the Navy and DOH received reports of fuel-like odors in Navy's tap water.
Six samples were sent to Eurofins Scientific in California. Four of the samples were damaged in transit and were unable to be tested. The remaining two samples — from Nimitz and Pearl Harbor elementary schools — tested negative for petroleum products.
DOH said more samples have been sent for testing, including additional samples from Red Hill Elementary School, with results expected next week.
The health department said it has not received enough results from water sampling to determine if the tap water is petroleum-free. It has received 494 complaints from Navy water system users since Monday.
On Thursday, the Navy said it detected petroleum products in the Red Hill well. The Navy took 14 samples on Monday throughout its system and only the Red Hill well sample came back positive for petroleum hydrocarbons.
DOH recommends all Navy water system users should avoid using the water for drinking, cooking, or oral hygiene. Navy water system users who detect a fuel-like odor from their water should also avoid using the water for bathing, dishwashing or laundry. This recommendation applies to users of the Navy’s Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) water system, including the Aliamanu Military Reservation, Red Hill and Nimitz Elementary Schools and military housing.
Certified Laboratory report from Nov. 24 testing samples:
Certified Laboratory report from Nov. 29 testing samples: