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Petroleum detected in Oahu tap water

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Department of Health said Wednesday a laboratory has detected petroleum product in a water sample from an elementary school near Pearl Harbor amid heightened concerns that fuel from a massive Navy storage facility could contaminate Oahu’s water supply.

The department said the test result from a University of Hawaii lab is preliminary, and it’s not yet clear what type of petroleum was in the water. The sample was taken Tuesday at Red Hill Elementary School. The department is still awaiting test results of samples sent to a lab in California.

For three days, hundreds of residents in Navy housing have complained of a fuel-like odor coming from their tap water. Some have said they suffered from stomach pain and headaches.

The department said all complaints have come from people using the Navy’s water system, and not from anyone who gets their water from Honolulu’s municipal water utility. Both the Navy and the utility have wells that draw on the Moanalua-Waimalu aquifer which is located 100 feet underneath the Navy’s fuel storage tanks at Red Hill.

The Navy on Sunday shut down a Red Hill well that draws water from the aquifer out of an “abundance of caution,” a spokesperson said.

The department has advised all those using the Navy’s water not to drink their tap water. It’s recommending that those who can smell fuel in their water not to use it for bathing, washing dishes or laundry. The system provides water to about 93,000 people living in and near Pearl Harbor.

The Navy and the state Department of Health are both investigating where the contamination is coming from, though the Navy said it has not detected any fuel in the water. The elementary school gets its water from the Navy’s water system.

Dr. Diana Felton, Hawaii’s state toxicologist, said people who ingest petroleum may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea as well as dizziness and headaches. Skin exposure may lead to itching and rashes. People who stop drinking effected water should start to feel better in a few hours, she said.

Felton said she won’t know whether anyone would be expected to suffer any long-term effects of drinking the water until she learns what type of petroleum was involved, but at this point she believes it’s unlikely.

Last week, the Navy said a water and fuel mixture leaked from a fire suppression system drain line into a lower tunnel in the Red Hill fuel tank farm. The Navy said no fuel leaked into the environment in that episode.

Honolulu Civil Beat reported last month that officials waited months to report a January fuel leak at Pearl Harbor to the state Department of Health because they were worried doing so would hurt their ability to get a permit for the Red Hill tanks. Hawaii’s congressional delegation has asked the Department of Defense to investigate.

The tank farm contains 20 large underground fuel tanks that date back to World War II. The Navy built the tanks in two rows of 10 inside a mountain ridge 3 miles inland from Pearl Harbor. Each tank is as tall as a 25-story building.

Total storage capacity of the facility is 250 million gallons, giving the U.S. military what it calls a vital fuel reserve in the Pacific. The tanks provide the last fully U.S.-owned fuel stop for forces going from from the West Coast and Hawaii to Asia and the Middle East.

Man sentenced to prison for posting sex videos of ex-partner

HONOLULU — A U.S. judge in Hawaii sentenced an Arizona man to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to cyberstalking and acknowledged posting online sexual videos of a woman he was previously in a relationship with.

While in a relationship with the woman, Micah Austin Goodale recorded sexually explicit and graphic videos of her and after their relationship ended, he published the videos on a website that hosts adult pornography for free public streaming, the U.S. attorney’s office said in announcing the sentence Tuesday.

Along with the videos, which included Goodale and the woman having sex, he posted the woman’s full name, phone number and address, according to a plea agreement signed by Goodale and filed in court.

Goodale, 27, of Queen Creek, Arizona, pleaded guilty to cyberstalking in July.

He signed onto her social media account in November 2019 and posted links to the videos of the woman, who lived in Hawaii at the time, the plea agreement said.

He also created a Twitter profile using her name and photo and posted additional sexually explicit content there featuring the woman, prosecutors said.

Goodale’s federal public defender, Craig Jerome, didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday.

“Cyberstalking and revenge pornography are just new forms of harassment and intimidation that have been made possible by advancing social media technology,” said Judith Philips, acting U.S. attorney for Hawaii. “The digital nature and global reach of social media present unprecedented potential for harm, and criminals who abuse these new technologies to unlawfully harass and intimidate others in substantial ways will be brought to justice.”
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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