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Anniversary of the Red Hill water crisis

Water Sample Collection in Aliamanu Military Reservation Homes army red hill
Seaman Chris Thomas/Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet
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Digital
HONOLULU (Feb. 4, 2022) – Members of the Interagency Drinking Water System Team carry water sampling equipment to a resident’s home at the Aliamanu Military Reservation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Thomas)

This weekend made a year since families began calling 9-1-1 about the odor of fuel in their neighborhoods.

No one knew that in the weeks to come about 90,000 families living in housing served by the military’s water system would be displaced to hotels because fuel had made its way into their tap water and was not safe to drink or use.

The Conversation went back in the archives to listen to those calls of concern.

Foster village resident Eric Nunes, who lived there for 15 years, said he called 9-1-1 when he noticed odor of gas fumes were coming from the Diamond Head side of his home.

"It was all dark and nobody was doing anything so we called it in that we had a strange smell," Nunies said. "Because it was fuel like it wasn’t like anyone  was doing a bbq or cookout so that is what was strange about it and so we called it in.”

A group called the Oahu Water Protectors marked the anniversary with three days of sign waving.

On Sunday, they distributed water and ice pops to military families at the Navy Exchange. Mikey Inouye and about two dozen others with the Red Hill Coalition were on hand to engage military families.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Nov. 21, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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