Navy spends $6 million on filtration system to clean up contaminated water
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — The Navy will spend $6 million to lease at least 25 industrial-scale water filter systems to clean its fuel-contaminated water.
The first seven filters have already been installed and will start working on Monday.
“Like I said, no cost was spared, no effort was made,” said Lieutenant Commander John Daly.
The Navy said the filtration system will first be used to clean its water distribution system and large holding tanks.
The treated water – which the Navy says will be free of chemical pollutants – will be discharged into large grassy areas, the sewer system and some storm drains – under agreements with the state, city and Honolulu County and the EPA.
The Navy said it would then flush water from faucets and fixtures in contaminated homes. The flushing will be done quarter by quarter in a process that will take 30 to 45 days, the Navy said.
The flushing began on Monday at military housing on the Pearl City Peninsula, Red Hill and Aliamanu Military Reserve housing. Officials said it should take a day. The Navy said it would then start rinsing through the Navy Exchange, which would take a bit longer.
“You’re pushing a lot of water through a system at a faster rate than we normally pump water, so basically cleaning out the piping,” said Navy Captain Miguel Dieguez, public works officer at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. “Residents in these neighborhoods can expect…they may see variations in their water pressure, while the toilet is flushing.”
He added that residents might notice the deposit of sediment or minerals, which could cause the water to turn brown or white. He advised against washing light-colored clothes during the process.
Military and civilian families who have been relocated to Waikiki will likely stay in their hotels during the rinse period.
“The end product is not just houses, but we also have churches. We have businesses, restaurants — all kinds of people connected to our water system,” Daly said.
Last week, the Honolulu Water Supply Board said it was skeptical of the Navy’s ability to clean all of its pipes and water lines from fuel because oil doesn’t dissolve in water. water and tends to stick to pipes.
But the Navy said it was confident its plan would work.
“We have experience to draw on that demonstrates it can be done by flushing,” Daly said.
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