Respected engineer skeptical of Navy’s plan to remove contamination from water

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 3:27 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 4:19 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii engineer with expertise in occupational health and safety is skeptical about the Navy’s plan to remove contamination from the Pearl Harbor water system.

Flushing and filtering is the main tactic the Navy is using to clean its system.

But engineer Walter Chun is worried that contaminants will end up in the ocean. And despite the military’s efforts, he said, the pipes could still be tainted.

“Flushing it may be one of the short-term effects, but I think you have to keep in mind, all of our water systems are old and whatever corrosion and whatever is lining the inside of the piping is gonna attract some of the contaminants,” Chun said. “It gets released over a period of time.”

Chun will be part of a panel being being organized by a law firm that has experience in cases involving the military.

He has more than 55 years of experience in the field of safety engineering and is concerned that even if the water crisis is resolved at military housing, there will be long term impacts on Hawaii.

“Keep in mind, the water gets discharged into our ocean,” Chun said.

“It goes through the sewage treatment plant and everything, but a lot of this goes into our marine environment and what we’re worried about is it gets to our marine life. We eat our fish, we eat our marine life and it enters the food chain.”

In addition to Chun, the panel will also feature several health and legal experts.

It’s scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Waikiki and the public is invited.

Those who can’t attend in person can view the discussion via this Zoom link.

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