There is oil in the Navy’s water system, according to the Hawaii Department of Health

Oil was found in the water of a Navy-run treatment plant in Honolulu, the Hawaii Department of Health said on Wednesday.

Health officials said tests at Red Hill Elementary School showed positive results for petroleum in drinking water and that they plan to send samples to California for further analysis.

The testing followed complaints that began Sunday from residents of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam that the tap water smelled of fuel and had an oily sheen.

Read more : Trump reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 days before hosting Gold Star families in the White House

Families posted on social media and informed authorities that they were showing symptoms as a result of exposure to water, including rash, nausea and nosebleeds from the smell and the contamination.

Navy officials first said they examined the wells serving the affected neighborhoods and found no signs of odor or fuel.

On Tuesday, however, the Hawaii Department of Health said all customers of the Navy’s water supply system, which serves approximately 93,000 people at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and elsewhere, should avoid drink or cook with water or use it for oral hygiene, even if they did not smell anything wrong.

They added that if the water smelled bad, they should “avoid using the water for drinking, cooking, washing, washing dishes, laundry, or oral hygiene (brushing teeth, etc.). ) “.

Navy wife Lou Tuttle said Thursday the warning came too late for her 14-year-old son, who had gone to the emergency room with stomach aches, nausea and vomiting. The teenager was diagnosed with exposure to a toxic substance, according to Tuttle.

“He’s got a fire in his stomach, his stomach is burning, his whole esophagus hurts,” Tuttle said. “The Navy still denies there is a problem.”

Early Monday, Navy officials said they were investigating reports of a chemical odor in drinking water but found no signs of contamination, according to a post on the Joint Base Facebook page. Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

However, as complaints began to mount, the service increased its response, establishing a special phone line for residents to call in case of concern on Tuesday afternoon.

Navy officials then announced they were emptying the water lines and asked residents to run water in all of their faucets for three to five minutes to remove any contaminants.

A tunnel inside the Red Hill underground fuel storage facility in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Jan. 26, 2018. The state said a lab detected petroleum product in a water sample from an elementary school near Pearl Harbor. (US Navy via AP)

They called emergency city meetings in affected neighborhoods on Tuesday evening, published a list of places available for residents to shower and created a website to provide information.

Navy officials began distributing water to residents in some areas of the base on Wednesday.

Tuttle said some families used showers at public beaches because they did not trust the water source for base gyms and the facilities available to them.

She added that off-base laundromats accept reservations because they have so many customers.

“My six-year-old’s hands are raw from the use of hand sanitizer.” Tuttle said. “Since the start of the pandemic, the Navy has told us to wash our hands. Water is crucial, especially during a pandemic.”

The Hawaii Department of Health had received more than 175 water complaints as of Wednesday, all from users of the Navy’s water supply system.

Armed Forces Housing Advocates, a nonprofit organization that supports military personnel and families living in basic housing, received 456 complaints on Sunday alone.

“It’s very upsetting,” said Sarah Lenox, the group’s environmental risk advocate. “We’re very angry as an organization about what’s going on. One drop of gasoline or fuel or whatever, in water is one drop too many.”

Depending on the type of petroleum substance, short-term exposure may cause skin irritation or swelling and burns on direct contact. Inhaling the vapors can cause symptoms such as headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, or vomiting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Very few human studies have been conducted on the long-term effects of exposure to gasoline and jet fuel. Some animal studies have shown that the products can cause certain types of cancer and neurological damage, according to the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Navy officials said on Wednesday they were investigating the matter.

“The Navy continues to collect and test samples, inspect water distribution systems and other parts of the Navy’s water distribution system to identify and characterize the source of the problem with the water.” officials wrote in a statement.

Tuttle said she would like to see them admit there is a problem and fix it.

“Safe and clean drinking water. It is a basic human right,” Tuttle said.

– Patricia Kime can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

Related: DoD puts troops, families at risk with slow response to ‘chemicals forever’, report says

View full article

© Copyright 2021 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.