Top US military officials — including Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro — were in Hawaii Sunday to address the community.
The deputy commander of the US Pacific Fleet. Rear Adm. Blake Converse, confirmed a petroleum leak is the cause of the latest breach.
“The situation we’re in today, it’s completely and totally unacceptable,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday added.
The military has offered all service members and civilian employees living near the base the opportunity to get alternative housing, and Converse said they are now covering the cost of hotel rooms for more than 700 people.
Converse did not have a timeline for getting drinkable water back to the affected homes. “It will involve a series of flushes of not just the water distribution main, but of every home,” he explained.
The Navy added it has seen concerns from people in the affected neighborhoods who were exposed to the contaminated water and reported symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and skin-related concerns.
The Navy isolated the Red Hill well last Sunday and sent samples out for testing Monday, it said.
“The results of the Red Hill sample showed petroleum hydrocarbons roughly four to ten times below the Hawaii Department of Health Environmental Action Level (EAL). The Navy had a separate test that confirmed vapors, which is another indication of petroleum hydrocarbons,” it said in a statement.
“The Navy is developing a plan to restore the potable water system to EPA standards, identify how this contaminant got in the well, and fix the well,” the statement continued.
On Tuesday, when BWS heard about the shutdown of the well, it reduced pumping capacity by 50%, it said in a news release.
“We are deeply concerned that we were not notified immediately by the Navy regarding the shutdown of their Red Hill water source,” BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau said in a statement, adding that the Halawa shaft was shut down in an “abundance of caution.”
“We have data that shows when they stop pumping at Red Hill, water starts moving in the direction of our Halawa Shaft due to our pumping,” Lau said.
A history of fuel leaks
The Notice of Violation and Order (NOVO) consisted of five counts with a total penalty in the amount of $325,182, the Hawaii Department of Health said in a news release.
Failure to perform line tightness testing of repaired piping before return to service.
Failure to perform an annual liquid tightness test on spill prevention equipment to prevent releases to the environment.
Failure to perform an adequate visual walkthrough inspection of hydrant pits
Failure to maintain adequate release detection for two double-walled underground product recovery storage tanks.
‘It is clear that the Navy has failed to manage its fuel operations’
The Halawa shaft pumps 10 million gallons of water per day and delivers water to 20% of Honolulu’s water supply, the BWS said.
The state’s congressional delegation previously asked that the Navy “immediately” identify, isolate and fix the problems that allowed the contamination to happen. They also urged the governor to request assistance from the Biden administration.
Converse said at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam virtual town hall meeting that the health and welfare “of the residents of our housing and the state of Hawaii and their citizens” is a priority.
“Our second priority is to identify, isolate and clean up the potable water system that the military provides and restore public confidence in that system to get you back to normalcy, back into your homes, and drinking clean water,” Converse added.
CNN’s Joe Sutton, Natasha Chen, Jack Hannah and Andy Rose contributed to this report.
66 total views, 2 views today