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Navy carrier Nimitz sidelined in San Diego as jet fuel contaminates drinking water

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) steams forward in the Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Elliot Schaudt)

A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier remains sidelined in San Diego because jet fuel got into its potable water supply, a Navy spokesperson said in a statement Thursday.

Five sailors have reported “health concerns” over the contaminated water, the Navy said.

“USS Nimitz (CVN 68) remains in port at Naval Air Station North Island testing and evaluating its potable water system to ensure the highest quality water is provided to the crew when the ship gets underway,” Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a 3rd Fleet spokesperson, said in a statement.

Jet fuel was detected in the ship’s potable water while it was operating off the Southern California coast on Sept. 16. The ship docked at North Island the next day and connected to San Diego’s municipal water supply, which has been providing the ship with fresh water since.

Robertson said one of the ship’s 26 potable water tanks was identified as the source of contamination. Three nearby tanks were also isolated as a precaution, he said.

More than 800,000 gallons of municipal water have been used so far in an effort to flush the fuel from the ship’s system, Robertson said.


© 2022 The San Diego Union-Tribune

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