Army mom says she was left shaken by Navy secretary’s comments on tainted water crisis

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro is on Oahu on Friday to tour the Red Hill fuel storage facility amid the water contamination crisis.
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 5:42 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 26, 2022 at 12:40 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The military won’t even confirm that he is here, but Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro is on Oahu for high-level meetings on the tainted water crisis.

It’s believed to be his second trip to Hawaii since the crisis began nearly three months ago.

Del Toro is meeting with Gov. David Ige and members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation. Video obtained by Hawaii News Now showed Del Toro walking out of a meeting at Camp Smith on Friday afternoon.

“The Secretary of the Navy is here in Hawaii. I’m meeting with him today,” said U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele.

Del Toro is here to see the industrial filtration systems at Red Hill first hand.

The Navy is fighting a permanent shutdown of Red Hill, something Hawaii’s congressional delegation supports. “There are multiple ways for us to address this problem and shut down this facility and that’s what we are going to do,” said Kahele.

Amanda Feindt, an Army major and mother who lives at Ford Island, said she spoke briefly with Del Toro at Camp Smith on Friday afternoon.

“He sort of gave me a life lesson,” said Feindt.

“He didn’t answer my question directly. He said, ‘Major Feindt, nothing in life is pure, so the water is not going to be completely clean, but the DOH has set these standards and the Navy is well below those standards.’”

“I’m not one to cry in uniform at all, but I had tears in my eyes,” she added.

Only two of 19 neighborhoods around Pearl Harbor have had their water cleared for drinking by the state Health Department.

“Just today we have 3,377 families that are still living in hotels. The United States Navy has extended 1,000 rooms for lodging facilities until March 10,” said Kahele.

According to Navy Region Hawaii documents, claims for lodging reimbursement have risen to $11 million, and 4,000 families are living in their homes supplied with bottled water for drinking and cleaning.

Documents also show the Red Hill well is being tested for diesel, gas and oil.

On Jan. 10, test results showed “total petroleum hydrocarbon diesel” was at 1,500 parts per billion, which is nearly four times the action level of 400 parts per billion.

At the end of January, the Navy announced it had started filtering up to 5 million gallons of water per day from the Red Hill well.

On Friday, it reported samples were below the minimum detection limit for diesel and gas, but did not release other details.

The Navy has been very quiet about the Navy Secretary’s trip. Congressional members found out about the meeting Thursday and the Navy did not confirm to the media that he’s on Oahu.

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