HONOLULU (KHON2) — A joint informational briefing regarding the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility spill investigation and defueling plan is scheduled to happen on Tuesday, July 19. The Department of Health (DOH) and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply are expected to provide an update.
In November 2021, the DOH advised users of the Navy water system, which serves about 93,000 people, to stop drinking and using it after hundreds of military families living near Pearl Harbor complained of stomach pain, nausea and other health issues.
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Since then, water bottle companies have seen a growth in customers.
As of July, the Menehune Water Company reports seeing 500 new customers, with no supply issues. They have an 1,800 bottle an hour capability in production, so no real problems right now. Aloha Water Company also saw a growth of 32 new accounts related to the water contamination from November.
“Currently, we are not struggling to meet that specific demand, but we are currently short staffed in general due to the economic climate of our country,” said Tony Gabriel, General Manager at Aloha Water Company. “It’s a very strange time, and I can’t figure out how everyone is surviving without working as the majority of businesses are understaffed. In spite of that, we are operating and supplying all customers in full.”
Aloha Water Company is currently hiring for positions starting at $20 an hour, with full medical, dental and vision benefits.
Earlier this year, over 100 military and civilian families filed Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) SF-95 claims over the water contamination, alleging the Navy released jet fuel and other contaminants directly into their drinking water at least twice in 2021 and has not fully disclosed the scope of the contamination.
Attorneys representing these families said many of them continue to suffer a wide range of illnesses and are at risk for conditions such as visual and hearing disorders, neurological effects and immune disorders.
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“Our investigation continues, but the process of obtaining proper medical care, safe housing and justice for our clients has moved forward with these SF-95 filings,” Attorney Kristina Baehr stated. “We now have test results that show that the homes are still not safe and that the contaminants made it into the air. The air has not been cleaned in these homes, and the Navy has refused to move people into other housing.”
Click here to read the letter.