MCAS Beaufort is aware of the concerns some of our Marines have regarding the condition of N Barracks, in particular the discoloration of the hot water. N Barracks was built in 1972 and is scheduled to be demolished in 2019.
Due to these concerns and after discussions with MAG-31, 2DMAW, and MCIEAST, it was determined random water samples would be taken at N Barracks and tested for lead and copper. The main cause of lead and copper in drinking water is the corrosion of household plumbing, faucets, and water fixtures, which can be exacerbated in older buildings. When water sits for several hours, lead and copper can accumulate in the water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action level for lead is 15 parts per billion and for copper is 1.3 parts per million in more than 10% of the sampled taps.
Water samples were taken at N Barracks and while there was no exceedance of EPA’s copper action level, one occupied room had a lead result above 15 parts per billion.
While not every single room in N Barracks was tested, MCAS Beaufort in coordination with MAG-31, 2DMAW, and MCIEAST has decided to relocate Marines from N Barracks as a precautionary measure. Central Billeting will begin relocations to other available barracks on Monday, 22 October. In the meantime, bottled water will be available for N Barracks Marines and can be obtained at the N Barracks Duty NCO desk.
To further reduce exposure to lead and copper, the EPA recommends the following additional steps for all water usage regardless of location:
- Using only cold water for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula
- Regularly cleaning your faucet’s screen (also known as an aerator)
- Before drinking water from the tap, flush your pipes by either: running your tap approximately 1-2 minutes, taking a shower, doing your laundry, or doing a load of dishes
For more information on lead and copper in drinking water please go to https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water. For questions about N Barracks please email BFRT_JPAO@USMC.MIL .