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Image by Martin Zangerl

Water is life.
Life is water.

NEWS BLOG
PETITION

A petition in support of clean water for our descendents.

We, the people of this place and people from afar, stand in support of clean drinking water on Oʻahu for generations to come.

The U.S. Navy’s WWII-era underground fuel tank farm at Red Hill has contaminated the aquifer that provides drinking water to Oʻahu residents. Thanks to our community’s tireless demand for truth and accountability, we now know that over two million gallons of fuel have already spilled. Millions of gallons of fuel, sitting in the soil and the rock above the aquifer, migrating slowly, hour by hour. 

The Navy has begun the process to de-fuel the tanks to prevent future spills. But we cannot allow our military to declare the job complete if there are still millions of gallons in the soil, in the rock, and in our aquifer.

We deserve safe, pure drinking water that our children’s children can rely on, free from industrial filters or chemical treatments. From mauka to makai, there should be no fuel in Halawa Stream and freshwater springs.

We stand in support of the action plan of the interagency Red Hill WAI committee in collective action to: 

 

  • Hold the Navy and federal government responsible for not only defueling the tanks, but for fully cleaning up the fuel already spilled

  • Find and neutralize contaminants before they get to the water

  • Aggressively monitor the well-being of the water in proactive stewardship of the resource 

 

 

We join together - across government, community and private entities - united in the fight to restore the promise of clean drinking water for our descendents. 

 

Mālama I Ka Wai!

Protect our water!

Ripples

Mālama I Ka Wai.

Protect our water.

Thousands of military personnel  were displaced from their homes because the water in their faucets made them sick. These families – military families on the Navy water system – were poisoned by the armed forces they have dedicated their lives in service of. And that spill now threatens all of urban Honolulu. The Navy has spilled thousands of gallons of petroleum from their massive underground tanks, and that fuel has tainted our precious, irreplaceable aquifer: the pure drinking water that has sustained families on Oʻahu for all of human memory.

Imminent danger

The clean, clear water that has nurtured life in the Hawaiian Islands for over a thousand years starts with rain, filtering through rock in a decades-long process to get to the aquifer. The aquifer is a body of water encased in permeable rock that feeds more than one million people on the island of Oʻahu. By definition, all parts of the aquifer are connected to each other.

Just 100 feet above the aquifer, is a massive underground fuel tank facility operated by the U.S. military in a place called Red Hill. Seven miles of tunnels, twenty tanks, with each tank holding 12.5 million gallons. Each tank would fill nearly 19 Olympic-sized swimming pools with fuel. They are buried deep in the mountain, meant to be safe from discovery and bombardment: all the U.S. was concerned about when they secretly built it in the 1940s.

They were so secret that the tanks' existence was classified until 1995. The culture of withholding information remains, and it has dangerously complicated the monitoring of leaks, spills, tank integrity, and other failures. It wasn't until 27,000 gallons of fuel were released in 2013 that quarterly reports began at the insistence of State of Hawaiʻi authorities.

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Poisoned water

In November 2021, military families began to suffer from nausea, dizziness, and rashes caused by fuel-contaminated water coming directly out of their household pipes. 14,000 gallons of jet fuel had been released a week earlier, but this did not result in notifications to families, or the general public that there had been contamination. Not acknowledged by the Navy until families were sick, and pictures of oil sheens in water glasses flooded the mainstream news. The  aquifer had taken a direct injection of jet fuel, causing a crisis that will take decades and billions of dollars to remedy.

There have been 72 known releases of fuel, for a total of nearly 200,000 gallons of fuel unaccounted for. In the land? In the water? Anything in the land will eventually make its way to the water – our drinking water, or the ocean.

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