There might be something in the water at California’s Camp Pendleton, and it’s not a good thing.
Bacteria commonly found in sewage and feces was found in the Marine base’s drinking water last month, leading USMC officials to submit a warning earlier this week.
A routine water supply inspection in April led to a base-wide notification being posted by the installation housing office earlier this week, informing residents that coliform bacteria was found in the drinking water.
“Although this is not an emergency, as consumers, you have a right to know what you should do, what happened and what we did to correct this situation,” says the notice from Pendleton’s Water Resources Division and Environmental Security Department.
Despite the water being deemed safe and boiling unnecessary, the report said that “6.1 percent showed the presence of total coliform bacteria. The standard is that no more than 5 percent of the total number of samples collected per month [be contaminated].”
Camp Pendleton spokesman Captain Luke Weaver told Military.com that bad testing may have resulted in false positives.
“Our assessment found that the coliform bacteria detections may have been due to aging sample point infrastructure and improper disinfection of the infrastructure prior to sampling (as opposed to actual coliform bacteria contamination within the water distribution system),” he said in an email. “We believe this because all follow-up sampling was negative for coliforms and other bacteria.”
The California State Water Resources Control Board’s Drinking Water Division echoed Weaver’s sentiments after subsequent testing came back negative.
“The assessment found that the defects on sampling taps may have been the root cause,” said Wei Chang, acting district engineer for the water board’s Santa Ana district. “The sampling taps will be replaced to eliminate the possibility of sample contamination.”
The contamination fears come amid recent reports of over 126 military bases with contaminated drinking water, mostly by way of firefighting foam and other aviation-related chemicals.
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