Gov. David Ige has joined Hawaii’s congressional delegation in calling for the Navy to shut down its Red Hill fuel storage operation immediately.
Ige and U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Reps. Ed Case and Kaiali‘i Kahele, all Democrats, released a joint statement this evening calling for the Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, who is in Hawaii for the 80th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, to suspend operations at Red Hill in the aftermath of the contamination of drinking water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and the surrounding areas.
“Test results confirming contamination of drinking water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam show that the Navy is not effectively operating the World War II-era facility and protecting the health and safety of the people of Hawaii,” the joint statement said. “We are calling for the Navy to immediately suspend operations at Red Hill while they confront and remedy this crisis.”
For the past week, hundreds of military and non-military users of the Navy’s water system have complained of a strong fuel odor in the water, and many reported feeling ill or having pets who became sick after drinking water.
On Thursday, the Navy said recent testing of its Red Hill well detected the presence of petroleum contaminants.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported today that Navy testing from July, August and September also indicated the presence of petroleum contaminants, but the state Health Department was not informed until Nov. 24, and the information was not made public until Thursday.
Since World War II, the Navy as operated huge underground fuel storage tanks that sit about 100 feet above one of Oahu’s most critical aquifers, serving about 40 percent of urban Honolulu’s water users.