Ministry of Health press releases


Trace Contaminant Levels Detected in Two O’ahu Drinking Water Sources During Testing

Published on November 3, 2021 in Press Room

Honolulu – Traces of the chemicals Dieldrin and Perfluoropentanoic Acid (PFPeA) were detected in water samples collected from the Pearl City well of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS) and the Aina Koa well, respectively. Both sources of drinking water are part of the Honolulu-Windward-Pearl Harbor water system. Drinking water from these sources remains safe, as trace levels detected were well below health advisory limits.

Dieldrin is not regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the DOH health notice for dieldrin is 0.2 microgram per liter (ug / L, or parts per billion). Levels detected in the Pearl City well ranged from 0.0109 µg / L to 0.0121 µg / L. Dieldrin is an organic chemical once used as a pesticide to control subterranean termites and can be found in drinking water by leaching into groundwater.

PFPeAs are one of a group of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are currently the most studied PFAS chemicals. There is currently no EPA advisory specifically for the PFPeA. In April 2021, the DOH established an environmental action level for drinking water for PFPeA- of 0.80 ug / L. The level of PFPeA confirmed in Aina Koa well I ranged from 0.002 µg / L to 0.003 µg / L.

According to the EPA, PFAS are fluorinated organic chemicals that have been widely used in consumer products such as carpets, clothing, furniture fabrics, paper food packaging and other materials (e.g. , kitchen utensils) designed to be waterproof, stain resistant, or non-stick. They have been used in flame retardant foam and can be found in food packaging, consumer products, house dust, and drinking water.

“The trace levels of these chemicals are so low that they do not pose a threat to public health, and the water from these wells is potable,” said Kathleen Ho, deputy director of environmental health. “The Department of Health will continue to work with the Honolulu Board of Water Supply to ensure that testing for these chemicals continues. Such tests are done to ensure that everyone’s water is safe and that public health is not compromised. “

The BWS sampled their wells before monitoring perfluoroalkyl substances that are expected to be required by the EPA in 2023. To date, the Honolulu-Windward-Pearl Harbor water system continues to be in full compliance with all federal standards. and state. for drinking water.

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