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Fuel leak found in US Navy water system, confirmed in elementary school samples

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Red Hill Elementary School students participate in the 2020 drive-by Halloween parade.

Update:  On Wednesday, Hawaii Health Department officials announced that intial tests found petroleum contaminants in water samples from an elementary school in the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam water system.

The preliminary analysis was conducted on samples from Red Hill Elementary School that were collected Tuesday, and analyzed at a lab at the University of Hawaii, Military Times reports.

Kevin Knodell

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Dec. 1 – Navy officials announced today that base authorities are flushing water systems amid mounting concerns about possible contamination of water supplies for military housing areas. Over the weekend several military families reported foul smelling water and a series of unusual ailments.

According to a Navy press release about 200 residents have called the line for testing and known impacted neighborhoods are currently Catlin Park, Halsey Terrace, Radford Terrace, Doris Miller, Moanalua Terrace and Ohana Nui.

The Navy said that the primary water distribution mains associated with the housing areas affected by possible contamination have been flushed twice and the third flush is ongoing as of this afternoon.

“To flush the individual lines to each residence, the Navy is asking residents in all military housing areas to run the water in their homes for about three to five minutes today to help move water through the system and possibly alleviate the odor, ” the service’s press release said. “Hot and cold taps at each location, including baths and showers, should be opened and let run for several minutes.”

Hawaii’s congressional delegation urging the Navy to better communicate with the community. Several town halls meetings are scheduled for tonight.

So far testing has detected no petroleum or other contaminants affected sites or at wells and tanks, but Navy and state officials are urging residents to be cautious. While the Hawaii Department of Health and the Navy have not detected contamination the Navy is pursuing “more stringent tests by independent labs on the mainland ” to ensure water purity meets EPA standards.

The Navy is requesting that Joint Base Pearl Harbor — Hickam military housing residents continue to report any abnormal odors associated with their potable water, particularly if they live in an area that has not been documented as effected. Officials urge residents to avoid drinking and cooking with the water if unusual odors are present.

The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Emergency Operations Center is operating an information call center to receive calls from residents in military housing who have concerns about their water at (808 ) 448-2570 and (808 ) 448-3262, and (808 ) 448-2583.

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