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Distrust remains after the Navy's report on contaminated Hawaiian water

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher And Caleb Jones

Honolulu (AP) —Lauren Wright continues to hate water coming out of the faucet of his family's U.S. Navy home. I am. Hawaii says it doesn't believe it's safe.

Wright, her sailor's husband, and three children aged 8 to 17 became ill at the end of last year after fuel from a military storage tank leaked into tap water in Pearl Bay. I was among thousands of people.

The family returned to military residence after spending several months at a hotel in Honolulu, but continues to take safety precautions, such as taking a short five-minute shower. They don't drink tap water or cook with it.

A Navy investigation released Thursday condemned fuel leaks and water crises, as well as subsequent crude management and human error. Some Hawaiians, including Native Hawaiians, officials, and military families, said the report did not help restore confidence in the Navy.

"I wanted at least some remorse for my family and everyone involved," Wright said.

She said this ordeal changed her view of the army 10 years before her husband first joined her.

"I was a proud spouse of the Navy, stickers and T-shirts," she said. "The Navy feels like it has failed what it promised to all military personnel. They have failed a lot, and I'm not so proud."

Hawaii Residents and officials have questioned the safety of the huge fuel storage tanks that have been sitting on important aquifers since World War II, making it difficult to trust the Navy. Water Resources Management Committee.

"Publishing reports that they are lying to us is not a step towards building trust," he said. "We will refuel, permanently drain tanks, repair the water system across Oahu, and secure funding for reforestation. Seeing such steps in place. , It's a concrete step to rebuild trust. ”

Some Hawaiian indigenous people reported that a group of American businessmen with the support of the U.S. Marine Corps reported that the Kingdom of Hawaii. He said he only deepened his distrust of the army dating back to at least 1893 when he defeated him. More recently, Native Hawaiians have fought to thwart targeted practice bombings on Kahoolawe and the Makua Valley in western Oahu.

"There is no evidence that I should believe them," said Kalehua Krug, along with Khao Hewai, a cultural organization advocating clean aquifers on Oahu. "They're just lying for generations."

Navy officials used to win the trust of the island-wide community, especially Native Hawaiians. States that work is needed.

A research report released Thursday stated that on May 6, 2021, an operator's mistake caused a pipe to rupture, spilling 21,000 gallons (80,000 liters) of fuel as it moved between tanks. A series of mistakes at that time were described. Most of the fuel spilled onto the fire extinguishing line and I sat there for six months, causing the line to sag. On November 20, a cart collided with this slack line, releasing 20,000 gallons (75,700 liters) of fuel.

According to the report, authorities have set a default on what happened when the spill occurred, not to assume the worst, but to do the best, which is the seriousness of the situation. It contributed to overlooking.

The Navy's water system was contaminated by the spill. Fuel did not flow into the water services of the city of Honolulu. However, due to concerns that oil could move through the aquifer and enter the city's wells, the Honolulu Water Authority closed a major well serving about 400,000 people in December. Did. The agency has asked residents to save water because of this unusually dry weather.

Tanks continue to threaten Oahu's drinking water while holding fuel, said Ernest Lau, water business manager and chief engineer.

There are concerns that it will take more than two years to drain the facility, Lau said on Friday.

"The fact that they built this huge facility in three years, so they can't find a way to do all the work they need within two and a half years ... I can do it. I think. "He urged the Navy to consider shortening the timeline.

Christina Vale, a lawyer representing more than 100 military and civilian families who have filed complaints against the Marines, said it was particularly difficult to read how widespread the error was in the report. Stated.

"This is a national security issue," she said, and many of her clients are still experiencing the effects of contaminated water. "And if the government makes them sick, our family and military community will not be ready for the mission."