The Navy is investigating what caused the drinking water aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to become rank and cloudy last month.
It is at least the second instance of fouled drinking water on a U.S. carrier in recent weeks.
“An odor and cloudiness” were detected in Lincoln’s water Sept. 21 while the ship was underway conducting carrier qualifications and other tasks in the Pacific Ocean, according to Naval Air Forces spokesman Cmdr. Zachary Harrell.
“The three affected potable water tanks were immediately isolated and secured from the potable water system,” Harrell said in an email Wednesday to Navy Times.
The odor and cloudiness in the water abated by the next day, he said.
“The affected tanks will be deep-cleaned and inspected during Abraham Lincoln’s ongoing maintenance period,” Harrell said. “The crew has safe water to drink.”
Harrell said that “it is not known if there were any traces of jet fuel in the ship’s potable water,” a contamination problem that plagued the Nimitz last month.
A video posted to the “Master at Arms Memes” Facebook page Monday features Lincoln’s commander, Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, addressing the water situation and adding that there is “good known” water onboard that tested safe for consumption.
“I agree something was going on,” Bauernschmidt said in the undated video. “That something is not JP5 (jet fuel) right now, but I don’t know exactly what it is.”
The CO notes how, the night before, she filled up her water bottles and didn’t taste or see anything off about the water.
But she also notes that, during the address, she and the rest of the bridge are looking at a cloudy bottle of water that “personally tastes like saltwater to me.”
“We’re going to continue doing all the medical tests we can,” Bauernschmidt said. “I know I have good known water on because it has passed every single test.”
It remains unclear what date that address was made, but Harrell said Bauernschmidt made several ship-wide announcements pertaining to the water issues.
The 33-year-old Lincoln returned to San Diego on Oct. 3 and was hooked up to the San Diego water system, a standard “shore services” practice for pier-side ships, Harrell said.
News of the Lincoln’s water problems come after the carrier Nimitz suffered a leakage of jet fuel into its potable water system last month.
Navy officials have declared Nimitz’s system good to go after determining that the jet fuel had gotten into one of the ship’s 26 potable water tanks.
Nimitz returned to its pre-deployment cruise Oct. 2.
The investigation into the water problems aboard Nimitz and Lincoln continue, and Harrell said it was too soon to determine if there were any similarities between the two instances.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.