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Lead contamination detected at school, home at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

The Navy and state Department of Health are working to validate the detection of lead contamination at a school and a house at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The first water sample found to have elevated levels of lead came from an indoor staff bathroom sink at the Montessori Center and was collected on March 22, the Navy said in a news release today. The Navy on Saturday notified the DOH of the contamination at the school sink.

The second contaminated sample came from a sink in a house in Radford Terrace and was collected Friday. The Navy reported it to the DOH on Tuesday.

The Montessori Center sample tested positive for lead at a level of 30.2 parts per billion; the Radford Terrace sample was at 20.6 ppb. The action level under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the Lead and Copper Rule is 15 ppb.

The two contaminated samples were among 122 collected so far in the two zones, Zone E1 and F2. Zone E1 includes Makalapa, while Zone F2 includes Catlin Park, Maloelap, Doris Miller and Halsey Terrace and Radford Terrace.

The samples were taken while the Navy was conducting long-term monitoring of the Navy’s water system at JBPHH to ensure that the water in the system remains safe. For months the DOH had declared the water in the Navy’s system unsafe to use after it was contaminated by fuel from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

“The water in the Navy’s water distribution system is safe, and we are conducting long-term monitoring efforts to ensure that,” said Rear Adm. Tim Kott, commander, Navy Region Hawaii, in a statement. “In each of these cases, the Navy immediately contacted the building occupants and the Hawaii Department of Health. With DOH’s concurrence, the Navy is conducting further analysis and remedial actions including taking those fixtures out of service and conducting additional sampling to determine the sources of the exceedances.”

The contaminated Montessori Center sink was the only sample out of 24 taken in Zone E1 in March that exceeded permitted lead levels. The principal was notified of the sample results on Friday and secured the sink from use. The next steps are to replace the faucet and flush and sample the sink again. It will not be used until samples are analyzed again.

The contaminated sample at Radford Terrace was the only one of 98 samples taken in Zone F2 in March and April. The Navy advised the residents at the house not to drink the water but said other uses were acceptable. It began providing bottled water to the residents to drink.

Additional sampling is taking place for all the fixtures in the house to determine the source of the elevated lead level.

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