Fuel-tainted water sickened her family. Now this service member is fighting back
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Army Maj. Amanda Feindt served on the frontlines in Afghanistan.
Now, she’s also on the frontlines of Red Hill protests.
She is the only person currently serving in the military who is speaking publicly about how the Navy’s fuel-tainted tap water impacted her family. It’s a decision that’s put her career at risk.
But she says it’s worth it.
“A military asset has poisoned my own children,” she said.
Shortly after the Red Hill crisis began, in early December, Feindt, her husband and two young children showed up at an ER with severe symptoms. They were living at Ford Island at the time.
Her son’s rashes and nausea were especially painful.
“I bought some of that ... baby bath soak and I just put him in the bath and the water and looking back, I was making it worse,” said Feindt, talking about the fuel-contaminated water.
The disaster started the weekend of Thanksgiving 2021, when military families began complaining of an oily sheen in their tap water and fuel smells.
Also in this series:
- Red Hill, One Year Later: A look 140 feet underground ― at a pristine water source at risk
- Her 4-year-old was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. She blames Red Hill
- TIMELINE: A year ago, Red Hill fuel disaster upended the lives of thousands of Hawaii families
The Monday after the holiday, Capt. Erik Spitzer ― then-base commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam ― emailed worried military residents about the situation.
“I can tell you at this point that there are no immediate indications that the water is not safe,” he wrote.
“My staff and I are drinking the water on base this morning, and many of my team live in housing and drink and use the water as well.”
In other words, Feindt said, “We were told, your water is safe.”
But hours after Spitzer sent his message, the state Health Department issued a “do not drink” advisory to all 93,000 users of the Navy water system.
“I put my family at risk. I allowed the Navy to put my family at risk,” Feindt said.
Today, she’s putting her career on the line by protesting and speaking out about the health problems she and her family continue to battle.
“The EPA is not making sure that Hawaii has clean water. They don’t regulate jet fuel in our water,” she said.
- Alarming new CDC survey shows ‘worse health’ among those impacted by Red Hill fuel spills
- Military: ‘Unprecedented’ number of medical complaints among those exposed to Red Hill fuel
- Over 100 people join suit against US government over Red Hill crisis
We asked: What gives you the courage to do this?
“It is a huge risk,” Feindt said. “But my career, at the end of the day, it pales in comparison to the greater risk here.”
The threat from their own tap water.
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