DOH Confirms High Levels of Petroleum Contamination in Navy’s Red Hill Shaft on Oʻahu
HONOLULU – Samples collected from the Navy’s Red Hill drinking water shaft on Sunday, Dec. 5 tested positive for high levels of gasoline and diesel range hydrocarbons. This is consistent with visual observations and odors detected by Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) staff when the samples were collected.
DOH received the detailed lab reports late last night. The reports were immediately analyzed by DOH staff.
Samples from the Navy’s Red Hill Shaft contained total petroleum hydrocarbons diesel range organics (TPH-d) 350 times the DOH Environmental Action Level (EAL) for drinking water. The Red Hill Shaft samples also tested positive for gasoline range organics more than 66 times the DOH EAL.
The DOH samples were analyzed by Eurofins Laboratory in California. Eurofins found 140,000 parts per billion (ppb) of TPH-d. The DOH EAL for TPH-d is 400 ppb. Eurofins found total petroleum hydrocarbons gasoline range organics (TPH-g) at 20,000 ppb. The EAL for TPH-g is 300 ppb.
Trace levels of petroleum were also found in samples collected at the Aliamanu Child Development Center and private residences on the Navy’s water system.
Samples collected from Aliamanu Child Development Center on Friday, Dec. 3 tested positive for trace levels of oil range organics below the drinking water threshold. A level of 52 ppb of total petroleum hydrocarbons oil range organics (TPH-o) was detected in a sample from the Aliamanu Child Development Center. A level around 50 ppb of product consistent with petroleum was detected in samples from the Eagle Circle at Red Hill and Milo Lane in Aliamanu Military Reservation.
Sampling only captures contaminant levels at a point in time. DOH was scheduled to discuss the results further at the 1:30 PM briefing before the Hawaii State Legislature.
DOH recommends Navy water system users should avoid using the water for drinking, cooking or oral hygiene. This includes consumption by pets. Navy water system users who detect a fuel-like odor from their water should avoid using the water for drinking, cooking, bathing, dishwashing, laundry or oral hygiene. 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.