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US: Navy seeks to contest Hawaii health officials' order to halt operations at fuel site linked to contaminated tap water

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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 The shaft is Oahu's largest water source serving Honolulu residents and pulls from the same aquifer as the Navy 's Red Hill well. Lau said he won't resume operation at Halawa until the fuel is removed from Red Hill. Honolulu is now relying on its other wells to maintain water service to its customers, which

Separately, the state Department or Health ordered the Navy to suspend operations at the fuel facility, citing the governor's power to act if there is "imminent peril to human health and safety or the environment" caused by a leak or operation of an underground storage tank system. The Navy 's water system serves about 93,000 people. Nearly 1,000 military households complained about their tap water smelling like fuel or of ailments like stomach cramps and vomiting. The Navy said it would flush clean water through the distribution system to clear residual petroleum products from the water .

The Navy will contest an emergency order issued by the Hawaii Department of Health to suspend operations at a fuel site tied to contaminated tap water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, officials said Tuesday.

US Navy servicemembers hand out potable water amid water crisis at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. © KGMB/KHNL US Navy servicemembers hand out potable water amid water crisis at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The Navy requested a continuance of the order and is negotiating terms with state health officials, Department of Health spokesperson Katie Arita-Chang said.

The order to halt operations at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility was issued Monday amid a tainted water crisis that has forced more than 700 people from their homes and sickened families.

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A water sample returned last week showed the presence of petroleum in water that comes from a well near the underground fuel tank complex that has been the source of multiple fuel leaks over the years. Del Toro said officials were getting close to determining the cause of the problem and that when the investigation is “This will allow us to implement new safety actions before resuming operations ,” Del Toro said. Separately, the state Department or Health ordered the Navy to suspend operations at the fuel facility, citing the governor’s power to act if there is “imminent peril to human health and safety or

This time, on Hawaii , a mix of aging infrastructure, poor communications and a general lackadaisical approach to environmental management has forced the Navy to halt operations at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, a massive World War II-era fuel storage complex that is perched above an aquifer As the response floundered, in secret, the Navy moved quickly to shut down Red Hill and stop using a potentially contaminated well. But those steps, done outside of the public eye, prevented any integrated civilian/military effort to slow potential contaminant movement through the threatened

The Red Hill fuel facility sits 100 feet above the Red Hill aquifer -- which supplies drinking water to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and other areas of Hawaii.

Testing revealed petroleum hydrocarbons and vapors in the water, the Navy said Friday.

On Sunday, US Pacific Fleet Deputy Commander Rear Adm. Blake Converse confirmed a petroleum leak was the cause.

'You have failed the community'

The Navy said it shut down its Red Hill water well on November 28 after families living on base reported symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and skin-related concerns.

"My house began to smell like a gas station and I couldn't breathe. I was choking," resident Bonnie Russell told CNN affiliate KGMB/KHNL. "I opened all the windows for the ventilation but it still took quite a while for the fumes to clear."

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.

Navy seeks to contest Hawaii health officials ' order to halt operations at fuel site linked to contaminated tap water . Nightfall News is your news, entertainment, music fashion website . We provide you with the latest breaking news and videos straight from the entertainment industry. Nightfall News 12209 Leavenworth RD Omaha, NE 68154 You may also reach the admin by email at szgitt (at) hotmail.com or 917-508-5153.

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro traveled to Pearl Harbor and told reporters he was apologizing to everyone affected by what he called a “horrible, horrible tragedy.” Nearly 1,000 military households have complained about their tap water and some have said they have suffered physical ailments such as cramps and vomiting recently after drinking it. The announcement came after Hawaii ’s governor and congressional delegation called on the Navy to suspend operations at the fuel storage complex that sits above an aquifer that supplies water to urban Honolulu.

The military has offered alternative housing for all service members and civilian employees living near the base. As of Sunday, Converse said the military was covering hotel room costs for more than 700 people.

"I also want to say how disgusted I am at how you have failed the community," military housing resident Christy Clifford told officials at a town hall meeting last week, KGMB/KHNL reported.

"On Sunday my children took a bath and for 45 minutes afterward they complained of burning skin. On Monday I woke up sick and have been dizzy ever since," one woman told the military personnel, according to KGMB/KHNL.

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro speaks at a news conference at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Monday, December 6, 2021. © Audrey McAvoy/AP Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro speaks at a news conference at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Monday, December 6, 2021.

During a separate town hall with Navy officials Sunday, residents described an array of symptoms.

"I'm here to ask why you weren't a wingman to protect my 13-month-old son when I was bathing him, when I was giving him a sippy cup full of water from my faucet, when he has been throwing up for days on end," said one woman, who didn't give her name.

Navy contests Hawaii's orders to suspend, drain fuel tanks

  Navy contests Hawaii's orders to suspend, drain fuel tanks HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Navy is contesting orders from Hawaii to suspend use of fuel tanks and drain them at a complex above an aquifer that supplies nearly 20% of Honolulu’s drinking water until certain conditions are met. The Navy has already said it was suspending use of the massive World War II-era fuel storage complex near Pearl Harbor following days of complaints that tap water smells like fuel and has sickened some people. But Hawaii’sThe Navy has already said it was suspending use of the massive World War II-era fuel storage complex near Pearl Harbor following days of complaints that tap water smells like fuel and has sickened some people.

A water sample returned last week showed the presence of petroleum in water that comes from a well near the underground fuel tank complex that has been the source of multiple fuel leaks over the years. Del Toro said officials were getting close to determining the cause of the problem and that when the The announcement came after Hawaii ’s governor and congressional delegation called on the Navy to suspend operations at the fuel storage complex that sits above an aquifer that supplies water to urban Honolulu. Rear Admiral Blake Converse, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that the

"I'm here to ask why you weren't my wingman as my husband and I have had mysterious serious symptoms such as sore throats, burning in my stomach, profuse, unusual sweating, headaches unable to be mitigated, requiring multiple ER visits for additional medications, vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation," the woman asked the Navy officials.

Attendees seeking more transparency from the Navy also aired their frustration at finding temporary housing and asked for information on the environmental impact of flushing the contaminated water from pipes.

On Monday, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro visited the fuel storage facility and said the Navy is getting closer to determining the root cause of the water contamination.

"There is an ongoing investigation that is led by US Pacific Fleet into the cause of the incident," Del Toro said.

"Once that investigation is complete, we will review those findings and adjust our operating procedures as necessary."

But the top priority is to take care of those affected by the water contamination, Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gilday said.

Navy still grappling with water contamination in Hawaii

  Navy still grappling with water contamination in Hawaii The Navy has shut down a second well following a water contamination that suspended operations at a facility in Hawaii. Your browser does not support this video 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.

"That includes medical care. That includes food and includes water," Gilday said Monday.

The Navy hopes to restore water service to residents soon, but "the key point here is that getting it right is more important than doing it fast," Gilday said.

State demanding swift action

State health officials want more than just a halt in operations at the fuel storage facility. According to Gov. David Ige, the health department's order also calls for the Navy to:

  • Install a drinking water treatment system at the Red Hill well, which was shut down November 28 after residents reported symptoms
  • Submit a work plan to assess system integrity
  • Defuel the Red Hill underground storage tanks within 30 days of corrective action

"Hawai'i's wellbeing and the safety of our residents, including military families, must come first. We cannot have national security without ensuring public health and safety," the governor tweeted.

"There are still important questions that need to be answered and the Order will help get there."

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is encouraging the Navy to remove fuel from the Red Hill storage facility, BWS manager and chief engineer Ernest Lau told CNN.

Lau suspended operation of the Halawa Shaft on Thursday. The shaft is Oahu's largest water source serving Honolulu residents and pulls from the same aquifer as the Navy's Red Hill well.

Lau said he won't resume operation at Halawa until the fuel is removed from Red Hill.

Honolulu is now relying on its other wells to maintain water service to its customers, which Lau said isn't posing a huge problem during the current wet season. But the system could become strained during the summer months.

Thousands of military families displaced from Hawaii military base after jet fuel contaminates drinking water .
More than 3,000 military members and their families were relocated to hotels while the Navy deals with its contaminated drinking water.More than 3,000 military members and their families have been displaced, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said this week. The relocations follow government officials calling for the fuel tank to be shut down after petroleum was detected in a water sample from the Red Hill fuel tank farm earlier this month.

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