HONOLULU — Hawaii’s Division of Well being on Monday upheld the governor’s order requiring the Navy to empty huge World Warfare II-era gasoline tanks after oil leaking from the getting older facility contaminated Pearl Harbor’s faucet water.
Marian Tsuji, the division’s deputy director, on Monday mentioned she agreed with the conclusions of an official appointed by the division to evaluate the details of the case. She mentioned she would undertake the official’s proposed findings as ultimate, although would repair a typographical error.
The Navy is reviewing the choice, mentioned Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, a spokesperson for the Navy Workplace of Info in Washington.
Hawaii legislation permits events to enchantment such choices within the courtroom system.
David Henkin, an lawyer for Earthjustice, which represented the Sierra Membership of Hawaii within the case, urged the Navy to not enchantment.
“The menace to Oahu’s irreplaceable ingesting water provide is way too dire for attorneys’ video games. It’s time for the Navy lastly to do the best factor and promptly adjust to the Division of Well being’s order to defuel the Pink Hill tanks,” he mentioned in a press release.
The division’s hearings officer for the case, Deputy Legal professional Common David Day, concluded the tanks have been a “ticking time bomb” that threaten the water provide on the state’s most populous island.
He mentioned they posed “an imminent menace to human well being and security or the setting” and agreed with the governor’s order to defuel the tanks.
The Navy objected to Day’s findings final week, saying he used an “overbroad” interpretation of the Division of Well being’s emergency authority to control underground gasoline storage tanks. The Navy argued the tanks did not at present pose an “imminent” menace.
The Navy final month detected petroleum in a nicely that provides water to Pearl Harbor space navy housing, places of work and elementary faculties. Navy officers say they imagine the nicely grew to become contaminated by a sequence of pipeline leaks on the Pink Hill Bulk Gasoline Storage Facility close by.
The Navy obtained about 1,000 complaints from folks saying their water smelled like gasoline or chemical substances or that they suffered from nausea, vomiting and different bodily illnesses. Greater than 3,000 navy households reside in inns and different various housing whereas the Navy addresses the contamination.
Honolulu’s water utility attracts from the identical aquifer because the Navy’s nicely, prompting considerations that one in every of Oahu’s most necessary water sources might have additionally grow to be tainted by oil. The utility has shut off one its wells that attracts on the aquifer so petroleum does not taint its personal water.
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