HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Navy’s water contamination crisis is now in its third week, and many folks are still relying on bottled water for drinking and to do simple everyday tasks, like washing their hands and brushing their teeth.
Mai Hall lives in Radford Terrace, one of the many military communities affected by the tainted water issue. She and her family now have to wash their hands using jugs of store-bought water.
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The faucets in her home are wrapped up, and her refrigerator ice machine is taped off as a reminder to her 9-year-old son not to use their tap water.
“On November 28th, Sunday, it definitely smelled like I was in a gas station, pumping my gas in my car. That’s how I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t believe it,” Hall said about the moment she knew her water was contaminated.
During a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday, Dec. 2, the Navy confirmed that it detected petroleum products in water samples taken from the Red Hill drinking water well.
Hall says her entire family felt sick after drinking their tap water.
“We had upset stomach, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea,” she said. “On Monday and Tuesday, the cats were vomiting.”
Since then, she’s been brushing her teeth using bottled water only and making sure to conserve every drop. She also has to drive to take a shower and refill her water jugs.
Hall was born and raised in Kalihi. Her husband is in the military. She said she never thought she would be living in Hawaii and fuel would be in her tap water.
“I never could have imagined it or had a nightmare about it,” Hall said.
The Halls qualify for temporary lodging assistance through the military, but Mai Hall explained that her son is autistic, which makes moving not an option.
“His home is set up for him to succeed,” Hall said about why she can’t go to a hotel. “It’ll be really hard for him to do his daily routine, and I don’t want any more tantrums in the hotel room.”
For now, their new normal consists of using a case of bottled water a day.
Seeing her son wash his hands with bottled water makes her angry, which is why she is speaking out.
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“I feel that the military has to do what is just and pono,” she said, “clean up their mess and shut down those Red Hill tanks.”