HONOLULU (AP) – The Governor of Hawaii and a Congressional delegation have called on the Navy to suspend operations on a WWII fuel tank that sits above the aquifer that supplies the city of Honolulu.
The call from elected leaders comes as Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro is set to hold a press conference Monday afternoon in Pearl Harbor to discuss the ongoing Pearl Harbor tap water crisis.
The Navy said last week that a water sample from one of the wells showed the presence of oil. The well is adjacent to a complex of underground fuel tanks that has been the source of multiple fuel leaks over the years.
“Test results confirming the contamination of drinking water at the Pearl Harbor-Hickham Joint Base show that the Navy is ineffectively operating the WWII facility and is not protecting the health and safety of Hawaiians. We urge the Navy to immediately suspend operations in Red Hill while they confront and rectify this crisis, ”said Sunday’s statement, signed by Governor David Ayge, Senators Mazi Hirono and Brian Schatz, and US Representatives Ed Keyes and Kayali. “I am Kahele, all democrats.
The naval water supply system serves about 93 thousand people. About 1,000 servicemen complained that their tap water smelled like fuel. Others reported having illnesses such as stomach cramps and vomiting.
The Navy said it was flushing clean water through a distribution system to purify the water of residual oil. This process, along with testing, can take up to 10 days to make sure the water meets EPA drinking standards.
The Navy also pledged to investigate how the contamination got into the well and fix the problem.
Problems with piped water have affected one of the most important military bases where submarines, ships and the commander of the United States troops in the Indo-Pacific region are located. They also threaten to endanger one of Honolulu’s most important aquifers and water sources.