HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Navy will begin its plan to get clean drinking water back into homes that use their water system on Monday, Dec. 20. The first step is to clean the contaminated water using large carbon filtration systems that arrived on Oahu Sunday, Dec. 19.
These filtration systems were delivered to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam by the United States Air Force. According to officials, approximately 25 million gallons of water will need to be flushed out.
On Monday, the process will first begin at the Pearl City Peninsula military housing neighborhood. In order to flush the water, these filter systems need to be hooked up to fire hydrants. Navy officials said these filters will suck the petroleum contaminants out of the water before releasing it.
“From there, they go either to an area — if there’s a wide, grassy area — we can do a land discharge through a diffuser. So, essentially it waters the grass. Again, we’re discharging non-toxic effluent that’s been filtered,” explained Lt. Commander John Daly of the U.S Navy.
The Navy also said filtered water will be released into sewage systems, and possibly, storm drains. These water filtration systems apparently cost over $6 million.
State and county officials are also part of this plan.
If the Pearl City water flushing goes well, the Navy said they will then move onto army housing areas in Red Hill, as well as the Aliamanu Military Reservation.
Officials said one thing to note once the flush is complete is that they will not be going to every house to check if the water is clean. Instead, they will take samples from 10% of the homes in each “flush zone” to assess if the water is safe to drink.
After the first flushing and testing, the Navy will test the water from some homes monthly for three months, then testing will be done every six months after that.
“We go methodically, and we eliminate variables one at a time so the end product is not just homes, but we also have churches we have businesses. we have restaurants, all kinds of people connected to our water system,” added Daly.
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This cleaning process may take about 30 to 45 days to complete.