Last year’s crude management and human error caused fuel to leak into tap water at Pearl Harbor, poisoning thousands of people and evacuating military families for hotels, according to a U.S. Navy investigation. I was forced to do so.
A study released Thursday reveals how jet fuel leaked into a well from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, a huge World War II military tank farm on a hill above Pearl Harbor. The first detailed explanation. It supplied water to the vast base and surrounding homes and offices.
About 6,000 people Suffering from nausea, headache and rash And other symptoms.
After months of resistance, April troops agreed to orders from the state Hawaii Drain the tank and close the Red Hill facility. December 2024 was the earliest time to safely refuel tanks, according to another report submitted by the Pentagon to the State Department on Thursday.
The investigation report describes a series of mistakes on May 6, 2021 when an operator mistake caused a pipe to rupture and spill 21,000 gallons (80,000 liters) of fuel as it moved between tanks. Was there.
Most of this fuel spilled onto the fire extinguishing line and stayed there for six months, causing the line to sag. On November 20, Kurt collided with this slack line, releasing 20,000 gallons of fuel.
Personnel responding to the spill did not have the proper equipment to capture the liquid, as there should be no fuel where the cart hit the line.
“The team mistakenly assumes that all fuel has been sucked up,” Admiral Samuel Paparo, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, told reporters at a press conference. About 5,000 gallons were not recovered.
“In the meantime, the fuel enters this French drainage channel under concrete for eight days, slowly and quietly infiltrating the Red Hill well, and the fuel to the Red Hill well is pumped into the Navy system. It will be sent, “said Paparo.
Redhill officials believed that the May spill leaked only 1,618 gallons and recovered all but 38 gallons. They noticed that one of the tanks was as short as 20,000 gallons, but believed it had flowed through the pipe and was unaware that it had flowed into the fire extinguishing line. They did not report the discrepancy to senior management.
After the November spill, when people began to get sick, the military moved about 4,000 predominantly military families to hotels for several months while waiting for the water to become safe again.
The spill polluted the Navy’s water system. 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 Department 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.
According to the report, authorities have set a default on what happened when the spill occurred, not assuming the worst, but taking the best, which overlooks the seriousness of the situation. It contributed.
Papalo said the Navy was about to leave it. He called it an ongoing process of “becoming a reality for himself” and “being honest about our flaws.” He recommended a Navy review of 48 defense fuel storage facilities around the world.
“We can’t assume that Red Hill is an outlier. Similar problems may exist elsewhere,” Paparo wrote in the report.
The Chief of Naval Operations has appointed the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of the US Fleet Force, a four-star Admiral to decide on disciplinary action against those in uniform. According to Papalo, recommendations for civilian employees will be sent to his boss.
Investigations have revealed that inadequate training and supervision, ineffective leadership, and lack of ownership of operational safety are also causes of the incident, according to the report.
“The lack of critical thinking, intellectual rigor, and self-assessment by key leaders at the crucial moment exemplifies a culture of complacency and lacks the expertise required by the high-resulting nature of fuel operations. Showed, “said the report.
In particular, the investigation highlighted the February 2021 decision by the commander of the Free Logistics Center Pearl Harbor to remove unified military surveillance from day-to-day operations at Red Hill. The report states that this has significantly increased the risk of fuel handling operations.
In addition, key leaders at the spill site in November 2021 were able to demonstrate the urgency, critical thinking, strong backup, and sense of timely and effective communication required “due to the severity of the situation.” Said he didn’t.
U.S. House of Representatives Kaiali’i Kahele repeatedly stated that the Navy was an important part of U.S. defense, but said it had been left unattended for decades without proper oversight. He said this indicates a lack of leadership, investment and gross negligence.
“The Navy reported that we were able to prevent fuel leaks in Red Hill in May and November 2021, which is shocking and deeply concerned,” Hawaii’s Democratic Party member Kahele said in a statement.
David Henkin, an Earth Justice lawyer who has legally challenged the facility, said the Navy could not learn from the mistake.
“The Navy will take another two and a half years to refuel Red Hill’s tanks by the end of 2024, rather than quickly removing more than 100 m gallons of toxic fuel that remains in Oahu’s only aquifer. I’m proposing that, “he said. “It’s completely unacceptable.”
Pearl Harbor’s Toxic Water, Navy Discovery Caused by Rough Management | Hawaii
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