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US Navy still grappling with water contamination in Hawaii

23:56  08 december  2021
23:56  08 december  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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The Hawaii Department of Health is ordering the Navy to take immediate action to address contaminated drinking water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, an issue that has forced more than 700 people from their homes and left parents fearing the water they bathed their children in made Records show a history of fuel leaks plaguing Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in the past decade, with the most recent leak occurring 11 days before the Navy announced it had discovered contamination in the Red Hill well, CNN previously reported. Another incident in May involved the release of more than

Water contamination at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii forces over 1,000 military families from their homes. A tunnel inside the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii , on Jan. 26, 2018. (U.S. Navy /AP). Today at 7:42 p.m. EST. More than a thousand military families stationed in Hawaii have fled their homes and reported illnesses from apparent petroleum contamination in the base’s water supply, leaving some fearful of long-term health consequences as senior officials scramble to address the burgeoning health emergency.

The Navy has shut down a second well following a water contamination that suspended operations at a facility in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Department of Health issued an an emergency order Monday to immediately halt operations at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Honolulu following reports of a water contamination.

MORE: Navy ordered to suspend operations in Hawaii following water contamination

About a week earlier, health officials and the Navy advised residents in Pearl Harbor to stop using tap water after dangerous levels of petroleum products were found in the water system at the Joint Base at Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Military housing residents reported a fuel-like odor coming from their tap water, ABC Honolulu affiliate KITV reported.

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Navy region Hawaii , which oversees all Navy installations in the state, said the commander’s email was sent when “numbers of concerns were still very low”. “Since then, the navy has aggressively increased sampling, testing, communication to families and others impacted, as well as started response teams The tanks sit 100ft (30 meters) above an aquifer that supplies about a quarter of the water consumed in Honolulu, prompting concerns that leaks could contaminate one of the city’s most crucial water sources. This is the same aquifer tapped by the Red Hill well where the navy just detected petroleum.

Hawaii officials are calling on the Navy to stop their fuel operations as they fix the ongoing water contamination issue. The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) states that the Navy is responsible for ensuring safe water for nearby residents. Now, it has been ordered to provide alternative drinking water for the roughly 93,000 people who may be affected in the area. The DOH has received almost 500 complaints of fuel or gasoline-like odor from people who receive water from the Navy water system.

Navy officials confirmed to KITV that a second water well has been shut off amid the investigation into the contaminated water supply. Now that the Halawa and Red Hill wells have been turned off, the Navy is only pumping from the Waiawa shaft, according to the station.

This photo shows a tunnel inside the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Jan. 26, 2018. © U.S. Navy via AP, FILE This photo shows a tunnel inside the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Jan. 26, 2018.

Former commissioner on the Hawaii State Water Resource Management Commission Kamanamaikalani Beamer said during a virtual discussion with Hawaii's congressional delegation Tuesday that the issue has been going on for "many years" and that during his time at the commission officials were questioning the Navy about the safety of the drinking water.

Honolulu shut down its largest water source in Oahu due to contamination of Navy well near Pearl Harbor

  Honolulu shut down its largest water source in Oahu due to contamination of Navy well near Pearl Harbor Honolulu shut down its largest water source on Oahu Thursday night following reported contamination in the potable water system for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. © KGMB/KHNL US Navy service members fill potable water for residents at the Navy Exchange Mall. The city's Board of Water Supply (BWS) shut down the Halawa Shaft after the Navy said Thursday it found "a likely source of the contamination," which is believed to be petroleum chemicals initiated from the Red Hill well, the Navy confirmed in a virtual town hall meeting.

The Navy says it’s still waiting for results of its water testing, nearly five days after residents first started complaining about a strong fuel-like odor coming from their taps. | By HNN Staff. “I’m bringing up Red Hill today because the Navy is currently experiencing a crisis of astronomical proportions in Hawaii ."

Last week, the Hawaii Department of Health said a sample of tap water connected to the naval base tested positive for petroleum products, and the Navy ’s own tests identified petroleum in their Red Hill well, near a massive aquifer that serves large portions of Honolulu. Families across at least 10 If these solutions aren’t effective, officials have suggested they could set up a purification system to clear out any further contamination . Problems began in a facility that has long been a target of criticism from environmentalists, the Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility. On 22 November, the Navy announced that a

  Navy still grappling with water contamination in Hawaii © UIG via Getty Images, FILE

"There has never been a more serious and critical threat to the life-giving waters of Oahu than there is at this moment," Beamer said.

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The Navy is responsible for ensuring safe water for nearby residents and has been ordered by the state's Department of Health to provide alternative drinking water to about 93,000 residents who may be affected.

The DOH also ordered the Navy to immediately install a drinking water treatment system at the Red Hill Shaft and submit a work plan to assess system integrity. Within 30 days of completing the correction action, the Navy must then defuel the underground storage tanks there.

A ship passes near Ford Island in Honolulu's Pearl Harbor, Jan 17, 2018. © UIG via Getty Images, FILE A ship passes near Ford Island in Honolulu's Pearl Harbor, Jan 17, 2018.

The Navy plans to contest Gov. David Ige's emergency order that shuttered operations at the fuel facility and is negotiating terms of a continuance with the Department of Health.

During Hawaii's congressional delegation on Tuesday, Ige said he does not anticipate any delays to the investigative process, saying that finding the source of the contamination is of the utmost importance.

MORE: Water crisis in South persists following devastating winter storm

The health department will not declare whether the water is safe until no contamination has been detected over a period of time, Ige said.

ABC News' Kiara Alfonseca contributed to this report.

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This is interesting!