On Sept. 21, 2022, Sailors aboard aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), identified an odor and cloudy appearance in the ship’s potable water while operating off the coast of Southern California. Consistent access to clean, safe water is a priority that all Sailors take extremely seriously and the crew immediately took action to shift water tanks. Engineering and medical personnel conducted a thorough inspection of the potable water supply from various locations throughout the ship and all potable water tanks were tested onboard. On Sept. 22, tests conducted on board the ship indicated that E. coli bacteria was present in three of 26 potable water tanks. Those tanks were isolated and secured from the potable water system and free bottled water was made available to the crew.
The odor and cloudiness in the water abated by Sept. 22. However, since the presence of E. coli was not related to the reports of odor and cloudiness in the water, on Sept. 24, additional water samples were sent to Orange Coast Analytical, Inc., a laboratory certified by the state of California’s Department of Health, for further testing. Results came back on Sept. 26 indicating that the water was within drinking water standards for pH, turbidity, aluminum, copper, lead, sodium, and hardness.
All potable water tanks currently in service to the crew have been tested and are clear of E. coli. The affected water tanks remain isolated and will be deep-cleaned and inspected during the ship’s ongoing maintenance period.
There have been no confirmed cases of illness related to the ship’s water, but the Abraham Lincoln medical department continues to closely monitor their sailors for any potential symptoms.
Abraham Lincoln returned to its homeport at Naval Air Station North Island Oct. 3; since that time the ship has been connected to the San Diego water supply. The crew has safe water to drink and the health and wellbeing of the Abraham Lincoln crew remains a top priority.