Navy fuel leak prompts Honolulu plea for water conservation

HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu’s water utility on Thursday asked roughly 400,000 Oahu residents to voluntarily cut their water use by 10% because of concerns about dry weather and a petroleum leak from a massive Navy fuel storage facility that has forced it to shut down three wells.

Petroleum from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility hasn’t gotten into the tap water distributed by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. But it did get into an aquifer that sits underneath the storage tanks.

As a result, the utility in December shut down three wells to prevent fuel from migrating through the aquifer into its water system.

This means the utility doesn’t have its normal supply of water, said Ernie Lau, the utility’s chief engineer.

Petroleum did poison the Navy’s water system, however. In November, jet fuel from the facility leaked into a Navy well and into Navy tap water. That sickened nearly 6,000 people, mostly those living in military housing in and around Pearl Harbor.

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