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Navy tests detect elevated petroleum in Halsey Terrace home near Pearl Harbor

Halsey Terrace Community Sign (Zone F2)
Petty Officer 1st Class Luke J M/Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Halsey Terrace community sign. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Luke McCall)

HONOLULU — The U.S. Navy said late Friday it detected high levels of petroleum in the tap water of a home while preparing Pearl Harbor military housing for the return of families who evacuated when jet fuel poisoned their water.

The Navy said testing found a petroleum compound at a level of 460 parts per billion in one Halsey Terrace home north of Honolulu’s airport. That’s more than the 211 parts per billion limit the state Department of Health set for total petroleum hydrocarbons.

The Navy has been testing the water in the neighborhood after flushing clean water through its pipes to clear the contamination.

Jet fuel leaked into a Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam water system drinking water well from the Navy's Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in late November. About a week later, nearly 6,000 people complained of headaches, nausea, rashes and other physical ailments after drinking the water and bathing in it.

About 4,000 military families have been living in hotels while the Navy tries to clear the contamination.

The state Department of Health has declared the water safe to drink in several hundred homes so far, allowing some families to return. The two neighborhoods are Pearl City Peninsula and Red Hill Housing. Seventeen of the 19 zones remain under a public health advisory.

Navy Drinking Water System - Health Advisory Status as of Feb. 23, 2022
Department of Health
Navy Drinking Water System - Health Advisory Status as of Feb. 23, 2022

Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began its inspection of Red Hill on Monday.

“We’re going to ... really look very closely at whether or not the facility has operated within the guidelines of the law. And if it hasn’t, then we will have to make some corrections there,” Michael S. Regan, the EPA's administrator, told reporters at a news conference.

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