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Honolulu Hawaii Oahu skyline from boat marina with sailboats school on small sailboats boating in Yacht Club. Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Honolulu's water utility said Friday it shut down one of its wells amid concerns over fuel contamination in the Navy's tap water supply, according to the Board of Water Supply.

Why it matters: The fuel contamination concerns threaten one of Honolulu’s most important water sources and a key military base, where submarines, ships and the commander of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific region are located, AP reports.

The big picture: The move comes after the Navy on Thursday announced that a water sample from one of its wells had shown the presence of petroleum.

  • Nearly 1,000 military households have complained about tap water coming from the well, either of smelling like fuel or causing physical pain, including stomach cramps, per AP.
  • The well, which serves nearly 93,000 people, is near a World War II-era fuel tank complex that has caused numerous leaks over the years.

Driving the news: The Navy will flush clean water through the distribution system to clear petroleum products from the water, a process that could take four to 10 days, per AP.

  • Manager and Chief Engineer of the Board of Water Supply Ernest Lau said Friday he was concerned the "utility could pull contaminated water through the porous lava rock that forms the aquifer, and deliver it to its customers," AP writes.
  • There is no indication that the non-Navy drinking water was contaminated, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat.

What they're saying: "We are deeply concerned that we were not notified immediately by the Navy regarding the shut down of their Red Hill water source," Lau said in a statement.

  • "We have data that shows when they stop pumping at Red Hill, water starts moving in the direction of our Halawa Shaft due to our pumping. In an abundance of caution, we must shut down Halawa Shaft until further notice."

Go deeper

Dec 20, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Des Moines to renegotiate payment of Fleur Drive underpass

Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Des Moines is facing a nearly $2 million bill to pay for the Fleur Drive underpass and the foundation that agreed to cover it doesn't have the cash, its director told Axios Friday.

Driving the news: The city will renegotiate its agreement with the Water Works Parks Foundation under a proposal that goes before the City Council today.

  • The foundation has paid $1.4 million but doesn't currently have sufficient funds to cover the rest.
  • The city proposes using a federal grant to forgive $540,000 of the tab.
15 mins ago - World

Scoop: Ukraine tells senators post-invasion sanctions are no help

Zelensky. Photo: Johanna Geron/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told U.S. senators visiting Kyiv this week that waiting to impose sanctions on Russia until after an invasion is of no use to Ukraine, according to four sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: The Senate is currently working on a major sanctions package to deter Russia from attacking Ukraine. Democrats and Republicans are united in their support for Ukraine, but divided over whether it would be more effective to sanction Russia now to signal resolve, or hold up the threat of future sanctions to demonstrate the high costs of an invasion.

Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

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