12 December, Civil Beat, Christina Jedra: (Comment: This is a good historical summary of the Red Hill history) As Oahu residents reel from the news that military families’ drinking water was contaminated with petroleum, and that water for the broader community is also at risk, scrutiny of the nearby Navy’s fuel facility is intensifying.
But the crisis is not a surprise to many residents, officials and local environmental advocates. For years, they’ve considered Red Hill an inevitable environmental and public health disaster.
“My fear was that something terrible would happen before people wake up and this comes to their attention,” Ernie Lau, chief engineer of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, said this week.
The military said it caught wind of the emergency over Thanksgiving weekend as complaints rolled in from military housing residents saying that their water smelled of fuel and that their families and pets were falling ill. After initially dismissing concerns, the Navy later acknowledged that the Red Hill well that services that community was contaminated.
State health officials announced on Friday that the Navy’s water system contained levels of gasoline and diesel range hydrocarbons as much as 350 times higher than state standards for safe drinking water.
The cause of the problem is still under investigation, but the suspected source is the Navy’s World War II-era Red Hill fuel facility located uphill from the affected military communities.
A link to the full story is here