A disaster in Hawaii that spilled 1,300 gallons of water

Harris Marley
Harris Marley

Global Courant 2023-05-08 21:17:35

In November, about 1,300 gallons of fire-fighting foam used to suppress fires caused by flammable liquids spilled near Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. facility and on nearby land and a paved access road in Hawaii. The Hawaii disaster was caused by a maintenance contractor who failed to properly install an air vacuum valve on a foam system, US military officials said.

An investigation found that a spill of about 1,300 gallons of fire extinguishing agent at a fuel facility in Hawaii was caused by a maintenance contractor improperly installing an air vacuum valve, US military officials said Friday.

Aqueous film-forming foam, used to suppress fires caused by flammable liquids, contains PFAS, a class of chemicals that degrade slowly in the environment.

The liquid fire-fighting foam concentrate was spilled in November at the Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility near Pearl Harbor. The concentrate collected on the floor in the facility and then seeped under a door onto a paved access road and ground, the military said.

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The contractor improperly installed an air vacuum valve on the foam system in April 2022, the military said in a statement. The person also failed to get the foam concentrate pumps to start automatically prior to testing the fire suppression system on Nov. 29, 2022, which caused the uncontrolled discharge.

The statement said: “There should have been stricter safeguards and more assertive oversight from the Navy to reduce the risk of this type of accident.”

An aerial photo shows the eastern island of Oahu, Hawaii, on Feb. 23, 2022. A maintenance contractor who failed to install an air vacuum valve on a foam system caused 1,300 gallons of fire extinguishing agent to leak near Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii. (DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2021, jet fuel leaked from a drain line at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. It flowed into a drinking water well and then into the Navy’s water system, which serves 93,000 people in and around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Nearly 6,000 people sought medical attention, complaining of conditions such as nausea, headaches and ulcers. The army has housed about 4,000 families in hotels for months.

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The spills have contributed to the military’s mistrust of the community.

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Vice Admiral John Wade apologized during a press conference announcing the findings of the investigation into the fire-fighting foam spill, Hawaii News Now reported.

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The results of Navy groundwater monitoring in the affected area following the November spill showed no PFAS exceedances based on state and federal screening levels, the military said.

PFAS – short for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances – were developed as coatings to protect consumer goods from staining, water and corrosion. Studies in laboratory animals given large amounts of PFAS have shown that some chemicals can affect growth and development, reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system and the liver.

A disaster in Hawaii that spilled 1,300 gallons of water

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