Hawaii’s congressional delegation issued a joint statement today urging the Navy to better communicate with the community about events at its Red Hill fuel farm, and respond faster to reports of a fuel odor in tap water supplied by its water system serving Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and U.S. Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele said in a press release that they recently met with Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro to discuss fuel operations in Hawaii.
“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,” according to the joint statement. “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.”
On Sunday, the Navy reported that residents in the area of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam began reporting an odor of fuel or chemicals in their water and that they were investigating. However, affected residents expressed concerns about slow guidance about whether the water was safe.
So far, water sampling has been inconclusive as to whether there are contaminants in the water, according to the Hawaii Department of Health, but more extensive testing is underway.
“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 congressional delegation said. “The Navy must 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.”
Shortly after the statement was issued, the Navy announced that it will be holding town hall meetings this evening with affected communities.
They released the following schedule for today:
– Command Ombudsmen/Key Spouse Information Meeting – 6 p.m.
6 p.m. at Hickam Theater, 7393 Ohana Nui Circle #7371, Honolulu, 96818
– Moanalua Terrace Housing Community Town Hall
7 p.m. at Moanalua Terrace Community Center (formerly Forest City), 2500 Radford Drive, Honolulu, 96818
– Hickam Housing Community Town Hall
7 p.m. at Hickam Theater, 7393 Ohana Nui Circle #7371, Honolulu, 96818
– Halsey, Radford, Catlin Housing Community Town Hall
7 p.m. at Halsey Terrace Community Center, 620 Pool Street, Honolulu 96818