A military family invited us in to see (and smell) their water firsthand. Here’s what we saw.

Results of early testing from the Pearl Harbor-Hickam water system have been “inconclusive,” but the state confirmed that an inspector did detect a fuel odor.
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 5:30 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2021 at 5:54 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii military families say they’re angry and frustrated about the apparently contaminated that’s coming through their taps ― and potentially impacting their health.

As the investigation into the source of the possible contamination into the Pearl Harbor-Hickam Water System continues, families say their water continues to smell like fuel and has an oily sheen.

Cyndi Gomez, who lives at the Aliamanu Military Reservation, has not been using any tap water since this past weekend.

On Tuesday, she filled pots with water from several faucets in her home. The water had a distinct chemical odor and a sheen.

“That’s a massive amount of things that should not be in my water,” said Gomez, pointing to her water.

She said she not drinking the water or using it for cooking, showering or washing clothes since it left a fuel smell on her laundry.

“It’s unbelievable. They keep saying there’s nothing wrong and a lot of us are smelling it. We are getting sick from it. It’s crazy to us,” said Gomez.

This past weekend, she says her son washed his face and it left his eyes irritated.

“On Sunday morning, we asked them to go shower and they came out of the shower with swollen eyes,” she said.

Gomez and her family are among some 93,000 people who have been impacted by the water problems. The Navy system serves military communities and several schools.

Louise Tuttle lives at Radford Terrace.

“We’ve been feeling sick. My son says he has like a fire, a burning in his stomach. I have the same thing and a burning down my throat,” said Tuttle.

“I’m feeling very angry because we’re just given the runaround,” she added.

Ruth Byrne, member of the Church of Christ of Pearl Harbor, says whatever is in the water, it’s not good. “I’m washing and all of a sudden I’m smelling a funky smell,” said Byrne.

Back in Aliamanu, Gomez says she’s been getting her own bottled water.

Island Palm Communities came by for testing, but she wasn’t home and she doesn’t know how long her family can last without a precious resource.

“Help us out,” she said.

Residents say they suspect the possible fuel is coming from the Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility. Multiple agencies are investigating and have not confirmed what the substance is or where it’s coming from.

Hawaii News Now collected water samples from military housing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Aliamanu Military Reservation for testing at an independent lab.

The tests are looking for the chemical compounds found in petroleum. Hawaii News Now will report the results when they’re available.

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