The Navy on Monday announced that it will suspend its use of a World War II-era fuel storage complex above an aquifer in Hawaii after receiving reports that tap water in the state was beginning to smell like fuel.
According to The Associated Press, the fuel is stored above an aquifer that provides almost 20 percent of Honolulu’s drinking water. Some people reportedly fell ill after consuming the tap water.
About 1,000 military households said that their tap water was contaminated, with some reporting that residents suffered cramping and vomiting after drinking it, the AP reported.
The presence of petroleum was found in a water sample returned last week, the news service noted. The water was determined to come from a well near the storage complex, which has reportedly been the source of multiple fuel leaks over several years.
Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said he traveled to Pearl Harbor this week and apologized to everyone affected by the “horrible, horrible tragedy.”
He added that the Navy is set to implement water safety precautions after an investigation into the issue is completed and reviewed, they AP reported.
“This will allow us to implement new safety actions before resuming operations,” Del Toro said.
The Navy has reportedly said that it will flush clean water through the tap water distribution system in order to clean out any residual petroleum. The process could take up to 10 days to complete in order to ensure Environmental Protection Agency drinking standards are met, the AP noted.