Aircraft Carriers

Sailors couldn’t use the potable water system aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) for three days after JP5 contaminated the fresh water tanks last week

The potable water became safe to use again on Sep. 19 after flushing the system after discovering JP5 in the water while USS Nimitz was at sea on Sep. 16.

After jet fuel contaminated the fresh water tanks last week, sailors couldn’t use the potable water system aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) for three days, a Navy official told USNI News on Sep. 21, 2022.

Cmdr. Zach Harrell, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces, said that the potable water became safe to use again on Sep. 19 after flushing the system after discovering JP5 in the water while the carrier was at sea on Sep. 16.

“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,” he said. “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 JP5 entered the potable water system due to a procedural “line up” issue, rather than a fuel leak or a tank failure, that accidentally pumped the fuel into the fresh water system.

Harrell said that although social media posts on Instagram and Reddit claimed that several sailors became sick from drinking the contaminated water and suffered rashes from showers, the Navy had no instances of confirmed sickness for sailors aboard the carrier.

Nimitz is in the midst of its Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX), the workups that carriers do ahead of a deployment. The Bremerton, Wash., -based carrier recently went through a maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

Named in honor of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USS Nimitz is a supercarrier of the US Navy, and the lead ship of her class. One of the largest warships in the world, she was laid down, launched and commissioned as CVAN 68 but was later re-designated CVN 68 (nuclear-powered multi-mission aircraft carrier) on Jun. 30, 1975 as part of the fleet realignment. Nimitz was homeported at Naval Station Norfolk until 1987, when she was relocated to Naval Station Bremerton in Washington State (now part of Naval Base Kitsap).

Following her Refueling and Complex Overhaul in 2001, her homeport was changed to Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego. The homeport of Nimitz was again moved to Naval Station Everett in Washington State in 2012. In January 2015, Nimitz changed homeport from Everett back to Naval Base Kitsap.

Nimitz is now the oldest American aircraft carrier in active service.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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