Dec 08, 2021

Navy Contests Hawaii's Orders to Suspend & Drain Fuel Tanks

The orders want the tanks to be drained at a complex above the Red Hill aquifer, which supplies nearly 20% of Honolulu’s drinking water.

hawaii water

The U.S. Navy has contested orders from Hawaii to suspend use of fuel tanks and drain them. 

According to AP News, the orders want the tanks to be drained at a complex above the Red Hill aquifer, which supplies nearly 20% of Honolulu’s drinking water.

The Navy previously stated it was suspending use of the World War II-era fuel storage complex near Pearl Harbor after complaints about odorous tap water.

According to the Navy, it has detected petroleum products in the Red Hill well, reported CNN.

The Navy took 14 samples on Dec. 6 throughout its water distribution system and the results of the Red Hill sample showed petroleum hydrocarbons approximately four to ten times below the Hawaii Department of Health Environmental Action Level (EAL). A separate test confirmed vapors, which indicates the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons.

The Navy’s water system serves about 93,000 people in and near Pearl Harbor. Of these 9,000, about 1,000 military households have complained about their tap water, and some have said they have suffered from cramps and vomiting after drinking it, reported AP News.

“Now with multiple indications that the source has been identified and isolated, 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,” stated the Navy in its update on the situation.

Waiawa well’s water quality remains safe for use, however.

Hawaii’s state government order demands that the suspension remain in effect until independent evaluators are confident that appropriate measures are being taken. The state also wants the Navy to treat contaminated drinking water and remove fuel from the massive 20 underground storage tanks at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

The Hawaii Department of Health ordered the Navy to suspend operations at the fuel facility due to these safety concerns.

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