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Navy blames Hawaii water contamination on jet fuel spill

HONOLULU (AP), -- A Navy top official said Friday that the contamination of tap water in Hawaii was caused by a single spillage of jet fuel. This did not happen from an underground fuel storage tank above an aquifer.

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Navy blames Hawaii water contamination on jet fuel spill

Rear Adm. Blake Converse stated that Navy officials believe that 14,000 gallons (52.995 liters) of jetfuel were contaminated at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. The tunnel provides access to the facility and fire suppression. It supplies fuel to many military aircraft and ships operating in the Pacific. Its use has been stopped.

Converse stated that the spillage was cleared up but that people complained about foul-smelling water for weeks. Some even claimed they went to hospital because they felt nausea or cramps after drinking the water.

Converse stated that it seems that some of the jetfuel was sent through the Navy’s water distribution system, which serves approximately 93,000 people, not including military housing.

Converse also informed state legislators that Navy officials had moved more than 3000 families to Oahu hotels and that they would stay there until the problem is resolved.

All affected homes and facilities will have their water systems flushed with clean water. Navy officials stated that they expect to finish that process by Christmas.

"The Navy is responsible in this crisis. We are taking responsibility for the solutions and we will fix it," Adm. Sam Paparo of the U.S. Pacific Fleet told lawmakers.

Before Navy officials disclosed the probable cause of contamination, a U.S. senator asked the Environmental Protection Agency for help in testing Navy water to ensure that it is safe to drink.

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz stated that the EPA should intervene after the Navy disputed an analysis by the Hawaii Department of Health of fuel contamination at a well used for drinking water. This was in response to concerns raised by the Navy about the Hawaii Department of Health's assessment of fuel contamination at a well used for drinking water.

Last week's testing revealed that petroleum was found in the water. This is a well located near the underground fuel tank complex, which has been the source for numerous fuel leakages over the years.

According to the state health department, the Navy had reported diesel fuel levels that exceeded the Hawaii drinking water limits. These were based on samples taken at another Navy shaft that supplies water to the drinking system.

However, the Navy stated that the sample was not taken directly from its well and that officials at the Navy don't believe it to be contamination.

The California laboratory's results were received Friday by the health department. They confirmed that samples taken from the Red Hill shaft ground water source had been tested for gasoline on Sunday.

Schatz would like the EPA be the agency that handles the collection, testing, analysis, and communication of water crises.

He said that the Navy and state and county agencies cannot continue to disagree on the fundamental question of drinking water safety.

Julia Giarmoleo, a spokesperson for the EPA, stated that the agency is reviewing Navy test results. However, the EPA is not testing water independently.

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