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Secretary of the Navy says he’s ‘committed to rebuilding trust’ amid tainted water probe

Published: Dec. 5, 2021 at 5:45 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2021 at 6:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro apologized to the community again Monday amid a widening probe into the Pearl Harbor-Hickam tainted water crisis.

“We are committed to rebuilding this trust,” he said, at a news conference. “We’re doing everything we can try to fix the problem.”

Meanwhile, Del Toro said that operations at the Red Hill fuel storage facility were temporarily suspended Nov. 27 and that he will be making a decision on next steps within the next 48 hours.

Del Toro was speaking a day after Gov. David Ige and Hawaii’s congressional delegation called on the Navy to immediately suspend all Red Hill operations.

The underground storage facility with 180 million gallons of fuel sits 100 feet above the aquifer.

“Test results confirming contamination of drinking water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam show that the Navy is not effectively operating the World War II-era facility,” the governor and delegation said in a statement on Sunday night.

“We are calling on the Navy to immediately suspend operations at Red Hill while they confront and remedy this crisis.

CONTINUING COVERAGE:

The statement was addressed to Del Toro, who is on Oahu to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

On Sunday afternoon, Del Toro held a town hall and issued a public apology for the petroleum contamination of the drinking water.

The Navy says they are confident they have found a source of the contamination — petroleum chemicals from the Red Hill Well that leaked into the Navy’s potable water system.

Residents tapped into the Navy system have complained of fuel-like odors and medical issues after using or drinking the water.

And the Board of Water Supply has taken extraordinary measures — shutting down the Halawa well — in a bid to protect the island’s broader drinking water system.

This story will be updated.

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