PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) – A Navy investigation released Thursday revealed that sloppy management and human error last year caused fuel to leak into Pearl Harbor’s tap water, poisoning thousands of people and forcing military families into their homes. to evacuate houses for hotels.
The investigation is the first detailed account of how jet fuel from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, a huge World War II military tank farm in the hills above Pearl Harbor, leaked into a well that supplied water to homes and offices. in and around Pearl Harbor.
The report listed a series of errors dated May 6, 2021, when an operator error caused a pipe to rupture and leak 21,000 gallons of fuel as fuel was transferred between tanks. The fuel flowed into a fire extinguisher line, remained there for six months, then spilled again when a cart rammed into it on November 20.
Military medical teams examined some 6,000 people for nausea, headaches, rashes and other symptoms. For months, the military moved about 4,000 mostly military families into hotels while they waited for their waters to be safe again.
According to the report, officials were not making the best assumptions about what happened when the spills happened, rather than assuming the worst, and this helped them to overlook the gravity of the situation.
admin. Sam Paparo, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, told reporters at a news conference that the Navy was trying to deviate from that. He called it an ongoing process “to get real with ourselves” and “to be honest about our shortcomings”.
According to the report, the investigation found that poor training and supervision, ineffective leadership and a lack of ownership related to operational safety also contributed to the incident.
“The lack of critical thinking, intellectual rigor and self-assessment by key leaders at decisive moments exemplifies a culture of complacency and a lack of professionalism demanded by the sweeping nature of fuel operations,” the report said.
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