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Navy repairs water line breaks. Boil water advisory lifted

Updated: October 21, 2022 at 4:04 PM HST
The boil water advisory for Navy water system users was lifted at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022.

Five breaks in the U.S. Navy’s water system have been fixed as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Commander Capt. Mark Sohaney. The breaks left an estimated 93,000 people in the Pearl Harbor area on a boil water advisory for a week.

The advisory was lifted on Friday afternoon after test results showed no bacteria in the system, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam said in a press release. Water samples were taken from multiple areas on Thursday and tested at a third-party laboratory.

“Based on those results residents on the Joint Base water system no longer have to boil their water before consumption," Sohaney said in a statement. "I appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding while we worked to restore our water system to normal.”

The base said residents may see some sediment in their water. Residents were recommended to flush their water for five minutes.

Now that the breaks are repaired, the Navy will use 1 million gallons of water from the Honolulu Board of Water Supply to restore pressure to the system.

“As you open up a system this big, we're expecting some pressure fluctuations, and our teams are ready to address those today and tomorrow,” Sohaney said.

Sohaney said that to equalize pressure, fire hydrants will be opened in affected areas.

“There may be fluctuations in water pressure, and a slight smell of chlorine as we reintroduce water into the system,” Sohaney reported.

This started last week with a main break in the Pearl Harbor area. Around the same time, Sohaney said a car crash occurred near the Navy Exchange which caused a second break.

Because water had to be diverted around these breaks, a pressure build-up caused a third break at the Joint Base Annex at West Loch, and eventually a fourth in Pearl City Peninsula.

The fifth break, which was disclosed Wednesday, was due to irrigation in the Moanalua neighborhood, which Sohaney said “was not a factor.”

“It's frustrating, it's a difficult situation,” Sohaney said. "We are providing bottled water to our families. I've got my emergency operation center on call. We're taking plenty of phone calls for any type of concern and we're addressing those one at a time."

With the boil water advisory now lifted, the base said water bottle distribution will close at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21. About 170,000 gallons of bottled water were given out, according to the Navy.

Sabrina Bodon is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at sbodon@hawaiipublicradio.org or 808-792-8252.
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