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DOH declares all 19 zones affected by Navy’s tainted water system safe to drink

The state Health Department amended its health advisory Friday, declaring water in all 19 zones and Manana Housing is safe to drink.
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 1:04 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 18, 2022 at 5:29 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Health on Friday amended its health advisory for the last four Navy zones affected by the tainted water crisis — declaring water in all 19 zones and Manana Housing safe to drink.

Health officials said water may now be used for all purposes, including drinking, cooking, and oral hygiene. This includes consumption by pets.

DOH said it is waiting for an additional line of evidence from the Navy regarding non-residential areas on the water system.

The department said it expects to lift the health advisory for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Water System and Aliamanu Military Reservation Public Water System when the Navy verifies this information and the final Drinking Water Long-Term Monitoring Plan is approved by the state.

“These last amendments represent months of work to ensure that the 19 flushing zones and Manana Housing have access to safe drinking water,” said Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho.

“However, our work is not done. We will continue rigorous oversight to protect drinking water, including our aquifer, and will hold the Navy accountable to protect public health and the environment.”

DOH said the areas have been completely flushed and that sample results show the water in the distribution system meets state and federal regulations.

Furthermore, officials said drinking water does not show sheen or other qualitative methods of petroleum.

It also included in the cleared neighborhoods are a military Child Development Center and seven public schools.

“We were extra careful in taking a look at those. 100% of schools and child development centers were tested and cleared as part of this months long process,” said Katie Arita-Chang, DOH spokesperson.

Health officials say they are still investigating complaints of fumes and illnesses.

Dee Momilani lives in Pearl City Peninsula and has been advocating for other military families. She still won’t drink or shower with the tap water.

“There are many that are healing from their injuries to this water and they are getting new health concerns from this water,” said Momilani.

“It’s not only the water in their homes, it’s also the vapors,” she added.

The health department says complaints can be emailed to sdwb@doh.hawaii.gov or call 808-586-4258.

Health officials say there’s years more work to be done including setting a schedule for how often the Navy will test its water, clearing fuel contamination from the Red Hill well and a legal battle between the Navy and state is still looming.

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