The warning to stay away from the water supply at the Army’s Carlisle Barracks was lifted Tuesday afternoon, a day after the population there was alerted not to use the water because of suspected gas contamination.
Carlisle Barracks and the U.S. Army War College are expected to resume regular activities and services on Wednesday, according to garrison commander Lt. Col. Courtney Short’s announcement on Facebook.
Tests of the water for suspected combustible gas proved false after a monitor had indicated a contamination, according to a Tuesday afternoon post on the garrison commander’s Facebook page.
“The advisory may be lifted,” said Lynne L. Scheetz with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Water samples from around the installation were tested and the department’s report on the findings showed “no reason to continue the drinking water advisory at the Carlisle Barracks,” according to another Facebook post from the garrison commander.
“The water at Carlisle Barracks was completely tested and determined to be safe for all use, and free of the contaminants that might have been indicated by the ion monitor,” according to the post. “Hundreds of samples were included from across the entire installation, far exceeding the annual testing.”
Officials there will now look at combustible-gas indicators that first responders use, and “further investigate these field detectors.”
First responders answering a resident’s call on Sunday night found an issue with the water, though the equipment on base did not show what specifically it could be, Short said in a local news report by The Sentinel.
“I have great confidence in our first responders’ skill and abilities,” Short said. “They did everything they should to take the proper precautions to safeguard our community.”
Reports of hundreds of dead fish in the nearby LeTort Creek water system led to questions about whether that water was contaminated by Carlisle.
There is no indication the Carlisle Barracks water system, or pipeline work in the area, may be responsible for killing the fish, Short said Monday in The Sentinel’s report.
“The fish kill that happened last week is a separate investigation. And what we noticed in the flowing water around the installation is a separate instance,” she said.
The LeTort Creek water system is not linked to the Carlisle Barracks water supply, she said.
During Carlisle’s water shutoff, word went out that bottled water would be available at the commissary during the testing. A person commenting on Facebook said when he went to the commissary, no one was handing out water. People were then directed to get water at the Delaney Field House.
Neighboring facilities opened to those who wanted to take a shower. The Pennsylvania National Guard Armory was open to Carlisle Barracks residents for showers during working hours, and Dickinson College’s Kline Center opened its showers and lockers during certain hours.
“I want to thank everyone for their patience and flexibility,” Maj. Gen. John Kem, commandant of the Army War College, said in the post.
Kathleen Curthoys is editor of Army Times. She has been an editor at Military Times for 20 years, covering issues that affect service members. She previously worked as an editor and staff writer at newspapers in Columbus, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama; Bloomington, Indiana; Monterey, California and in Germany.