Nimitz Carrier Strike Group Returns
Sailors prepare to receive line as aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) arrives Naval Air Station North Island in 2021. U.S. Navy photo by Timothy Heaps

The U.S. Navy completed investigations into potable water contamination incidents on USS Nimitz and USS Abraham Lincoln on Oct. 26 and Nov. 10 last year.

The Nimitz investigation revealed that residue from jet propellant-5 (JP-5) entered an unused potable water tank due to a deteriorated gasket between June 2020 and March 2021, according to the Navy.

On Sept. 16, while operating off Southern California, Nimitz sailors reported a fuel-like smell and taste in the ship’s potable water. Testing was conducted, and on Oct. 1, it was determined that 22 out of 26 tanks tested below the recommended health action level for JP-5, ensuring the water’s safety.

Nimitz returned to Bremerton, Washington, on Oct. 28, where the affected tanks underwent thorough cleaning, repairs and inspection. Currently, all 26 potable water tanks on board provide safe water to the crew.

Eleven Nimitz sailors reported symptoms that may have been a result of JP-5 ingestion. Those sailors were treated by medical staff aboard the ship, their symptoms resolved and all were cleared to return to duty by Oct. 5, 2022.

The investigation into USS Abraham Lincoln found that bilge water had entered a potable water tank through a corroded ventilation pipe during a port visit at Naval Air Station North Island from Sept. 17 to 21, 2022.

After getting underway on Sept. 21, abnormal taste, smell and color were detected in the ship’s water. Testing revealed the presence of E. coli and coliform bacteria in three potable water tanks. The tanks were secured, and all 26 tanks were subsequently tested and confirmed to provide safe water. No illnesses were reported.

The full investigation can be found here: https://Www.Cpf.Navy.Mil/FOIA-Reading-Room/