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A sailor takes a fuel sample aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in 2012. The aircraft carrier remains in San Diego this week as officials conduct more testing and examine the ship’s drinking water system, which was tainted by jet fuel.

A sailor takes a fuel sample aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in 2012. The aircraft carrier remains in San Diego this week as officials conduct more testing and examine the ship’s drinking water system, which was tainted by jet fuel. (Benjamin Crossley/U.S. Navy)

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz remains in San Diego this week while workers test the ship’s drinking water system after jet fuel was found in it last week, the Navy said Wednesday.

Tests on Sept. 21 showed “detectable traces of hydrocarbons” in the ship’s water used for drinking, bathing and cooking, said Ensign Bryan Blair, a spokesman for Commander, Naval Air Forces.

As a result, Nimitz's departure from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., has been postponed, Blair said. The ship had been in the final preparations for a scheduled deployment.

After sailors reported irregularities, the ship’s crew detected trace amounts of jet fuel in the Nimitz’s water while it was at sea off the Southern California coast Sept. 16, the Navy said.

The ship has been connected to San Diego’s city water supply since Sept. 17, Blair said. A flush of the ship’s potable water system was completed Sept. 19, the Navy previously said.

“The internal potable water system remains offline until we are certain it can produce the highest quality water for the crew,” Blair said.

The Navy has not said how the water system became contaminated or indicated when the Nimitz, homeported at Naval Base Kitsap, Wash., will be cleared to leave San Diego.

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Alison Bath reports on the U.S. Navy, including U.S. 6th Fleet, in Europe and Africa. She has reported for a variety of publications in Montana, Nevada and Louisiana, and served as editor of newspapers in Louisiana, Oregon and Washington.

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