US Navy says source of contamination likely is petroleum chemicals from Red Hill well

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – The United States Navy hosted another virtual town hall meeting to discuss current water problems on the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam Facebook page. The town hall was held on Saturday, December 4, from 11 a.m. to noon.

After a week of deviating and avoiding what many residents claimed to be the obvious root of the problem, Rear Admiral Blake Converse has finally confirmed that the petroleum products found in the water originate from Red Hill.

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“It looks like it was petroleum chemicals that were initiated from the Red Hill well, and the wells have been isolated since Sunday,” Converse explained.

There are at least 10 neighborhoods directly affected, and these residents are advised to avoid using their water. The military provides resources to families and says they have a plan, but they don’t know when it will be fixed.

The top priority, according to Converse, is to identify, isolate, clean up the mess, restore the Red Hill water well “and restore public confidence in this system to get you back to normal in your life. houses and drink clean water “.

The Navy is already clearing the system; Converse said that was the first part of their plan: to fix it.

In a statement by a spokesperson for the US Pacific Fleet:

“The water is discharged into an open landscape after coordination with the state health ministry. There will be no expected releases to storm water systems or waterways.

Then they need to run more testing to make sure the well is safe, but it’s unclear when that will be completed. Converse added that it could take weeks to get detailed reports explaining what chemicals are in the water. In the long term, they plan to install surveillance systems to prevent this type of incident from happening again.

Water is now supplied by the Waiawa well – which is safe. For now, they are providing temporary accommodation for those affected, as well as hygiene stations with showers, washing machines and dryers which opened on Saturday, December 4.

Chief Warrant Officer Brandon Cain said they were there to help.

“We have eight washers and eight dryers. We have about 24 showers, so 12 for men, 12 for women, ”Cain said, and they will be open from 6 am to 10 pm daily.

The Tripler Hospital offers screening to anyone showing symptoms related to contamination. Force Surgeon Captain Michael McGinnis, US Pacific Fleet, said this short-term exposure is not expected to have lasting effects.

“We’re working on both a registry that identifies you’ve been through this and appropriate entries in your medical records,” Converse explained.

Watch the December 4 town hall meeting below:

Even those who have no symptoms can add their name to the registry in case they experience health problems in the future.

Although military officials try to be more open with information, there is still so much unknown.

For anyone with health concerns, Tripler has a helpline number at (808) 433-8102 available from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and staff can help document any concerns. The Navy is urging people to register if they have been affected and if they live or work in the area so that this is documented in medical records in the event of future medical issues.

Find out what’s happening in the country on our national news page

There will be another town hall on Sunday, December 5, which the public can attend in person. Details have yet to be released.


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