Hawaii residents — including military families — who have been impacted by the Navy water crisis still have time to participate in a survey led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Hawaii Department of Health, until Monday, February 7.
The survey is designed to help health officials learn more about the experiences of people who have been affected by oil contamination of their water. Initially open only to the civilian population, the survey was opened to those affiliated with the Ministry of Defence. All DoD-affiliated residents and assigned personnel are automatically entered into a DoD Incident Report Log.
You can participate in the survey here, or contact the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at 404-567-3256, or by email.
The survey includes questions about how people were exposed to contaminated water, what health symptoms they experienced and what medical care they sought. It asks questions about the impact on children and pets, health status prior to contamination and ways to contact the participant in the future. The identity of the participants will remain confidential.
According to the CDC, the findings will help experts understand the health impacts of this contamination and determine the steps needed to protect public health — something military families are eager to find out.
The data will be analyzed and the findings will be summarized in a public report.
Meanwhile, as of February 4, military families had still not received assurances that their water was safe to use. Military officials in Hawaii are awaiting test results from samples of homes that have been emptied as officials attempt to remove fuel from the water.
The water crisis has affected more than 9,000 households at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and the Army’s Aliamanu and Red Hill military reservation communities, which are on the water system of the navy. Navy, Army, Air Force and some Coast Guard members and their families are among those affected.
Military families have been unable to use water in their homes for more than two months, following reports of fuel odors and reflections in tap water. Army and Hawaii Department of Health officials warn not to use the water until home flush test results come back and are reviewed by an interagency team, then reviewed by the Hawaii Department of Health. These health officials will notify the Navy when they determine that the water in certain neighborhoods is safe to drink.
Many families have moved to hotels at government expense, but those who stayed at home receive bottled and bulk water, as well as access to showers and laundry services.
On November 28, residents of the Navy water system began reporting concerns about petroleum products in their water. Although there were initially conflicting reports, the Navy confirmed on December 3 that oil had been found in the water. The Hawaii Department of Health immediately warned residents to stop drinking water, and the military warned residents in two communities served by the Navy water system to stop drinking water. the water.
A Navy fuel spill related to water contamination was likely the result of operator error. Navy officials said the contamination likely occurred Nov. 20, when 14,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled inside an access tunnel providing fire extinguisher lines and service for the WWII-era Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.
Navy officials said they believe the contamination was the result of a one-time spill.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for over 30 years, and co-authored a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families”. She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Florida and Athens, Ga.