Over 100 people join suit against US government over Red Hill crisis
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A day after the CDC and state Health Department reported lingering health problems since the Red Hill drinking water crisis, over 100 more people have taken legal action.
A lawsuit against the U.S. government over the fuel-tainted water has been amended.
In the initial filing this past summer, there were about a dozen plaintiffs. But now, this new complaint adds more than 100 new plaintiffs who say they were affected by the contaminated water.
The lawsuit says on top of physical pain and suffering, these plaintiffs are also dealing with mental anguish, emotional distress and lost income.
A survey in September showed 9,700 households were potentially exposed to jet fuel in their their tap water after last-November’s tainted water crisis.
Symptoms range from fatigue to convulsions. Some 41% reported worsening of an existing condition, 31% reported a new diagnosis and 25% reported a new diagnosis with no pre-existing condition.
The Defense Health Agency says it’s working to establish a military clinic in Hawaii dedicated to medical concerns relating to potential exposures.
Meanwhile, the Red Hill facility is in the process of being defueled and closed. That is expected to take years.
The Navy is still debating what to do with the tanks once they’re emptied.
One option is keeping them in place, which is worrisome to the head of Honolulu’s Board of Water Supply.
“At some point in the future there is a need for fuel storage, then could the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility be resurrected from the dead to come back and be repurposed again? If the tank liners are still there, the pipes that move fuel to and from Pearl Harbor, if everything is still there in place, we are only one degree of freedom from getting back to fuel storage over the aquifer,” said Ernie Lau of BWS.
The Navy has said that if Red Hill is ever reused, it will not involve fuel or any other potential contaminants.
Based on the current timeline, the Navy is hoping to finish defueling by 2024 — and close the facility by 2027.
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