Imagine the thought of getting up in the middle of the night to make your baby a bottle of formula, only to learn that the water you had planned on using smelled like gas. You’d naturally be concerned and wonder whether the water was safe to drink and, if not, how long it had been contaminated. More importantly, you’d be concerned about the long-term health effects of drinking contaminated water for both you and your child.
In November 2021, the United States Navy started to receive complaints that the drinking water for the Pearl Harbor-Hickam naval base smelled of gasoline. Subsequent testing confirmed that the drinking water contained petroleum in amounts that were unsafe for human consumption. While the long-term effects of consuming the contaminated Red Hill water remain unknown, in the year since exposure, 87 percent of affected residents reported suffering from at least one new or worsening health concern, including seizures, gastrointestinal disorders, neurological issues, burns, rashes, lesions, thyroid abnormalities, migraines, neurobehavioral challenges, and other serious health concerns.
If you live near the U.S. Naval Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, including the Army’s Aliamanu Military Reservation and Red Hill Housing, your family may have consumed contaminated water. At the law firm of Console & Associates, P.C., we are investigating Red Hill contaminated water claims on behalf of residents. We understand your valid concerns over the contaminated Red Hill water supply and want to help you hold the parties responsible accountable. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients, during which we will diligently listen to your story, answer all your questions, and provide you with an overview of all your legal options.
Based on studies conducted by the Hawaii Department of Health and several federal government agencies, the water supply for those living near the U.S. Naval Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, including the Army’s Aliamanu Military Reservation and Red Hill Housing, contained unsafe levels of a “petroleum product.” As a result, the Navy recommended that anyone in the area “avoid using the water for drinking, cooking, or oral hygiene.”
The Red Hill water crisis was caused when fuel leaked out of the Navy’s Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility and into the water near the island of Oahu. Residents began noticing that their tap water smelled like gasoline in November 2011. A few days later, the preliminary tests came back, confirming the presence of petroleum in the water. However, the next round of testing conducted by the Navy found the water to be safe, adding to the confusion.
Now that a year has passed since the Red Hill water crisis, there is widespread agreement that the water supply was contaminated. In fact, the Hawaii Department of Health conducted a study finding that the level of petroleum products in the water was twice the amount that is considered “safe” for human consumption.
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The very first Red Hill contaminated water lawsuits have only started to make their way into courthouses. However, the general consensus is that the United States Navy was responsible for the spill. This is because the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility is operated by the Navy.
The Navy has made some efforts to remediate the contaminated water supply; however, the Navy’s response to the Red Hill water crisis has been disappointing to many residents, as well as the Hawaii Department of Health. In fact, in February 2022, the Hawaii Department of Health “determined that the U.S. Navy [was] in non-compliance with the DOH Emergency Order to safely defuel the Navy’s Red Hill facility.” This Emergency Order required the Navy to “hire a qualified independent contractor, to be approved by DOH, to prepare the Red Hill work plans, conduct assessments, and recommend system repairs and improvements to safely defuel the Red Hill facility.” However, the Hawaii Department of Health claims that the contractor selected by the Navy was incapable of being “independent.”
Of the 2,289 people participating in the study:
Of course, this is but a small percentage of the people who were exposed to the contaminated Red Hill water. One of the first Red Hill contaminated water lawsuits was recently filed on behalf of several families, including young children. These plaintiffs reported experiencing the following symptoms after consuming the tainted water:
Based on reports of the contaminated water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, it appears that those who were exposed to the water and suffered adverse health effects may be able to pursue a claim against the federal government. Of course, these claims are very likely going to be quite complex, and it is unlikely that the Navy will concede liability. Additionally, anyone who brings a claim may need to exhaust any administrative remedies available to them. Therefore, working with an experienced Pearl Harbor-Hickam contaminated water attorney is highly recommended to ensure all procedures are followed and that individuals’ claims receive the attention they deserve.
If your family was exposed to contaminated Red Hill water, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a Red Hill water lawsuit. At Console & Associates, P.C., we want to help in any way we can. We offer all prospective clients a free consultation, during which we will effectively advise you of your options and provide you with the information you need to make the best decision on behalf of your family. And, if you decide to work with us, we will not bill you for our services unless we can connect you with meaningful compensation, either through a jury verdict or settlement. To learn more, and to schedule your free consultation, reach out to an experienced contaminated water lawyer at Console & Associates, P.C., at 866-778-5500. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.