Jet Fuel Found in Nimitz Potable Water Supply

Sept. 28, 2022
The crew’s drinking water was out for three days.

Navy officials are investigating how traces of jet fuel got into the potable water system aboard the aircraft carrier Nimitz, reported The Navy Times.

The crew’s drinking water was cut for three days.

JP5 was discovered in the water while the carrier was at sea on Sept. 16, reported USNI News. Potable water was safe to use again on Sept. 19 after the system was flushed, said Cmdr. Zach Harrell, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces, to USNI News.

“On September 16, 2022, aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) identified traces of jet propellant-5 (JP-5), used to fuel carrier-based aircraft, in the ship’s potable water supply while operating off the coast of southern California,” said Harrell, reported USNI News. “The crew immediately took action to secure access to the ship’s potable water and provide bottled water to the crew. After conducting a thorough flush and inspection of its potable water system, fresh water has been restored to the ship. The water onboard the ship is safe for use and the health and wellbeing of all of our sailors is a top priority.”

The Navy Times reported that Nimitz spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Adam Demeter said that as the carrier was underway in the Pacific Ocean, fuel was discovered in the water and the system was secured. At that point, sailors received bottled water.

“The water onboard the ship is safe for use and the health and wellbeing of all of our Sailors is a top priority,” Demeter said in an email, reported The Navy Times, adding that "there have been no confirmed cases of illness related to contaminated water aboard the ship. The Nimitz medical department continues to monitor our Sailors for any potential symptoms.” 

It is unclear how the fuel got into the water supply. In the meamtime, Nimitz is “undergoing a full inspection of its potable water system to ensure the highest quality water is provided to the crew,” stated Demeter, reported The Navy Times.

A long deployment for the Nimitz ended in February 2021, and the Nimitz entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for maintenance and was underway in the Pacific when the water issues occurred, reported The Navy Times.

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Cristina Tuser

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