- The Washington Times
Thursday, October 20, 2022

HONOLULU — Several U.S. military bases here, including the headquarters of the Indo-Pacific Command, are without water after a water main break disrupted service to more than 90,000 service members and family, according to military officials. The water main broke on Oct. 14, and repairs to the 36-inch pipe are expected to last a week.

Navy Capt. Mark Sohaney, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham, asked for “patience and understanding” from military personnel in dealing with the disruption.

“The entire installation and our partners continue to put forth every effort to return full potable water service,” Capt. Sohaney said in a letter earlier this week posted on the base’s Facebook page. “Fixing a line of this size presents an engineering challenge and there hasn’t been any easy fixes.”

The military has issued a boil-water advisory and is distributing water at Navy, Army and Air Force exchanges.

Portable toilets have been deployed at Camp Smith, the Indo-Pacific Command headquarters.

“All commands were also asked to minimize manning and to only perform mission-essential activities,” the letter said. “These measures will reduce the stress on the remaining capacity of the potable water system.”

Camp Smith is home to the headquarters for one of the military’s largest combatant commands, integrating Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps forces throughout the Pacific and Indian oceans.

A spokesman for the Indo-Pacific Command said its personnel and families were supplied with bottled drinking water and are teleworking during repairs to the water main.

“Otherwise there has been no impact to operations,” the spokesman said. 

Water can continue to be used for personal hygiene, but water used in cooking, brushing teeth or drinking must be boiled for at least one minute, the letter stated.

According to news reports, the water main burst last Friday and was followed by two smaller breaks in the Pearl City Peninsula area of Honolulu. A fourth break was discovered on Monday.

In addition to Camp Smith, other bases affected include Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hickam, Aliamanu Military Reservation and Red Hill.

The water main break follows the leak of nearly 20,000 gallons of jet fuel from the Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility that showed up in the local drinking water system. The leak forced a large-scale evacuation of residents.

• Bill Gertz can be reached at bgertz@washingtontimes.com.

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