(HAWAII) — The Navy has shut down a second well following a water contamination that suspended operations at a facility in Hawaii.
The Hawaii Department of Health issued an an emergency order Monday to immediately halt operations at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Honolulu following reports of a water contamination.
About a week earlier, health officials and the Navy advised residents in Pearl Harbor to stop using tap water after dangerous levels of petroleum products were found in the water system at the Joint Base at Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Military housing residents reported a fuel-like odor coming from their tap water, ABC Honolulu affiliate KITV reported.
Navy officials confirmed to KITV that a second water well has been shut off amid the investigation into the contaminated water supply. Now that the Halawa and Red Hill wells have been turned off, the Navy is only pumping from the Waiawa shaft, according to the station.
Former commissioner on the Hawaii State Water Resource Management Commission Kamanamaikalani Beamer said during a virtual discussion with Hawaii’s congressional delegation Tuesday that the issue has been going on for “many years” and that during his time at the commission officials were questioning the Navy about the safety of the drinking water.
“There has never been a more serious and critical threat to the life-giving waters of Oahu than there is at this moment,” Beamer said.
The Navy is responsible for ensuring safe water for nearby residents and has been ordered by the state’s Department of Health to provide alternative drinking water to about 93,000 residents who may be affected.
The DOH also ordered the Navy to immediately install a drinking water treatment system at the Red Hill Shaft and submit a work plan to assess system integrity. Within 30 days of completing the correction action, the Navy must then defuel the underground storage tanks there.
The Navy plans to contest Gov. David Ige’s emergency order that shuttered operations at the fuel facility and is negotiating terms of a continuance with the Department of Health.
During Hawaii’s congressional delegation on Tuesday, Ige said he does not anticipate any delays to the investigative process, saying that finding the source of the contamination is of the utmost importance.
The health department will not declare whether the water is safe until no contamination has been detected over a period of time, Ige said.
ABC News’ Kiara Alfonseca contributed to this report.
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