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Water contamination testing equipment with higher sensitivity is in the works for Hawaiʻi

Jason Gillman from Pixabay

When reports first arose of fuel-contaminated water on the Navy's system, it took multiple days for agencies to send water samples and receive results from the U.S. mainland.

Samples from the Navy and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply systems were sent out of state because local testing labs currently do not have the equipment to detect contamination in higher detail.

But a joint partnership between the Navy and the state will change that.

At a legislative briefing on Wednesday, the Navy said it was working with the state on delivering an upgraded lab to Hawaiʻi. The University of Hawaiʻi would manage the facility.

The Board of Water Supply and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources have also been contacted as they may be potential lab customers.

“Our chief engineer for our organization is going to be on it next week with our technical reps to meet with Department of Health, Board of Water Supply and others to talk about how do we move forward," said Admiral John Korka, the commander of the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command.

"The delivery date of that testing equipment is in January. I'm hopeful it'll be here in the next 30 days. That was an initiative that was raised to have that capacity and capability here on the island," Korka said.

More than $300,000 has been allotted to procure the testing facility.

Jason Ubay is the managing editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Send your story ideas to him at jubay@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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