News Feature | October 12, 2017

Military Camp Caught With Dead Rodents At Drinking Water Treatment Plant

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online

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Over the summer, a drinking water treatment plant at a military base in California was found to be dealing with some particularly unsettling contaminants: dead rodents and amphibians. Now, it has entered a consent decree to solve the problem.

The treatment plant at Camp Pendleton, a base serving 55,000 Marines and their families, was visited over multiple days by water safety inspectors who were not encouraged by what they found.

“Water safety inspectors visiting Camp Pendleton over several days in late June uncovered rats rotting on a reservoir gate, a desiccated frog clinging to a reservoir ladder and a rodent carcass floating in treated water,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Following the inspection, action was taken to rectify the issues.

“Marine Corps officials removed the animal remains and cleaned, refilled and tested the reservoirs for coliform bacteria and chlorine, used as a disinfectant, after the inspection,” U.S. News reported. “Officials will conduct additional testing to ‘ensure the water in the reservoirs is safe to drink,’ the EPA said.”

Camp officials swore that the water is safe and entered into a consent decree with the U.S. EPA that would force the base to follow federal clean water regulations. But despite the shocking findings and need for actions, camp officials were making assurances about safety late last month.

“On Thursday, Marine leaders began circulating a notice conceding that state and federal investigators identified ‘vulnerabilities in the condition of our physical plant with specific emphasis on our 34 treated drinking water reservoirs across the base,’” the Times reported. “The memo insisted that there was no emergency or ‘immediate health risk’ and said residents didn’t need to boil or take other corrective actions.”

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Regulations And Legislation Solutions Center.

Top Image credit: "Camp Pendleton – Vietnamese Refugees," manhhai, 2015, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/