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HNN sent water from the Navy’s lines to a private lab. Here’s what they found.

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 5:28 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 at 5:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Navy says it’s still waiting for results of its water testing, nearly five days after residents started complaining about a strong fuel-like odor coming from their taps.

On Thursday, however, a lab contracted by Hawaii News Now found diesel in a Navy water line sample.

It’s another piece of the puzzle for the roughly 93,000 people on the Navy water system, who have been told not to drink the water and not to use it if it smells like fuel.

But it’s hardly the full picture.

Earlier this week, the state Health Department confirmed its test had found petroleum in a sample from Red Hill Elementary. They stressed additional testing was needed.

HNN gathered its water samples at the Church of Christ of Pearl Harbor on Main Street.

Ruth Bryne, wife of the pastor, said her water smelled of fuel.

HNN delivered a sample to FQ Labs on Oahu for testing earlier this week, and informed Bryne on Thursday that the sample was found to have trace amounts of diesel.

Her reaction: “Oh my word. I’m speechless. It’s just shocking to me.”

Tai Khan, FQ Labs director, said the lab actually sent the sample to another facility in Los Angeles. They found .125 parts per million of diesel in the church’s water. “It is trace amount,” Khan said.

“And I would think that any amount would be unacceptable in drinking water.”

The church is right next to military housing at Hickam base.

They bought their property a few years ago from the Navy.

Other water experts told Hawaii News Now even though diesel was found, that doesn’t rule out contamination by jet fuel. They also said it’s possible it’s seeping into the water system.

HNN also sent oily and smelly water from Aliamanu Military Reservation and military housing at Hickam for private testing. The tests did not detect gas, diesel or motor oil.

But FQ Labs says there could be other chemicals causing the problem.

Kate Needham, operations director for Armed Forces Housing Advocates, called on the governor Thursday to declare a state of emergency.

The group says they’ve gotten nearly 700 complaints of illnesses.

“We just want officials to understand that if it’s not good enough for them and their child, it should never be good enough for the military, families and their children.” Needham said.

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