Maui News

BREAKING: Preliminary Results Detect Petroleum Product in Navy Water System

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The Hawai‘i Department of Health says they have detected “petroleum product” in water samples from one site on the Navy Water System affected by fuel-like odors. The preliminary analysis was conducted on samples from Red Hill Elementary School collected Tuesday.

The samples were analyzed at a lab at the University of Hawai‘i and tested positive for a petroleum product, according to the DOH.

The Red Hill Elementary School results are preliminary and samples have been sent to Eurofins Scientific in California for further analysis.

DOH has received more than 175 complaints to date, which remain limited to users of the Navy water system.

The DOH recommends all Navy water system users should avoid using the water for drinking, cooking, or oral hygiene. Navy water system users who detect a fuel-like odor from their water should avoid using the water for drinking, cooking, bathing, dishwashing, laundry or oral hygiene (brushing teeth, etc.). This recommendation will remain in place until DOH receives and analyzes results from Eurofins Scientific.

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DOH investigators continue to collect samples for analysis daily and provide technical recommendations to the Navy.

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US Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) and US Representatives Ed Case (D-Hawai‘i) and Kaiali‘i Kahele (D-Hawai‘i) commented on the complaints Tuesday in a statement they issued after meeting with Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro to discuss fuel operations in Hawai‘i.

“Today, we met with Secretary Del Toro to discuss our concerns with Red Hill and the Navy’s fuel operations in Hawai‘i. The Navy owes the community straightforward communications on all events that occur at Red Hill and a commitment to address concerns with the Red Hill infrastructure no matter the cost. Given the resources and engineering expertise available to the Navy, we made it clear that there is zero tolerance for endangering the health and safety of the public or the environment,” the Hawaii delegation said.

“Most recently, reports of fuel potentially contaminating the water supply at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam followed by a slow, inadequate response are especially troubling. The Navymust act immediately and do everything it can to expedite the testing being done on the mainland to determine any risks to the drinking water. It also needs to ensure that residents in all affected areas have access to safe drinking water until the Navy and state regulators can assure the public it is safe. We also expect clear and consistent communication with the public about all matters, but particularly those that impact health and safety,” according to the statement.

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The Navy will continue to set up several water distribution sites for residents of base housing who want potable (clean/drinkable) water. Limit is up to 10 gallons per family per visit. 

Potable water trucks will be available for water at the following location Dec. 1, 2021 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. All water that is being distributed is from a clean source separate from the water in question. Affected residents are asked to bring sanitary jugs/containers and reuse them to help minimize the amount of plastics used. A valid military ID and verification of address will be required. 

Locations are as follows.

  • Halsey Terrace Community Center which will support Doris Miller, Halsey Terrace and Radford
  • NEX parking lot -Moanalua Terrace 
  • Catlin Park Community Center
  • ʻOhana Nui – Hickam Makai Rec Center located next to Tradewinds

The Navy is continuing to collect and test samples, inspect water distribution systems and other parts of the Navy’s water distribution system to identify and characterize the source of the issue with the water.

The Navy continues to monitor and investigate and will update residents and other stakeholders. 

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