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Tunnel inside the underground Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Photo: U.S. Navy via AP

At Red Hill — a Navy fuel storage facility near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii — samples of drinking water bound for military families contained diesel fuel 350 times the safe level, the state announced Friday.

Why it matters: The Navy has been denying complaints by military families and other residents for weeks.  

The latest: The Navy told state lawmakers that contaminated tap water came from a jet-fuel spill last month and wasn't caused by a leak from aging underground fuel storage tanks above an aquifer, AP reports.

  • Operations at Red Hill are on hold until the U.S. Pacific Fleet finishes its investigation into how petroleum got into the Navy's water system, Navy Times reports.
  • The Red Hill facility was shut down Nov. 28 after residents said their water smelled like fuel, but it wasn't until Dec. 3 that tested water samples showed the presence of petroleum products.

What's happening: The crisis has forced some Army and Navy families from their homes into hotels. They could be out until Christmas or longer, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports:

  • "A Navy official says he’s optimistic that displaced families will be back in their homes and able to safely use the water supply by Christmas, but that message runs counter to the more cautious tone struck by an Army commander who says recovery from the crisis is uncertain and could take weeks."
  • Residents said they've experienced cramps, rashes, vomiting, headaches and more after drinking the water, per the Navy Times.
  • The Navy's water system serves nearly 93,000 people in and near Pearl Harbor and almost 1,000 military households complained about the tap water.

The state said Navy water-system users, including military housing and schools on the Pearl Harbor base — shouldn't drink the water.

Go deeper

Navy basic training expands and will include focus on combatting extremism and sexual assault

Members of the U.S. Naval Academy freshman class lift logs during the annual Sea Trials training exercise in 2014 at the school in Annapolis, Md. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Navy announced Friday that it has added a two-week boot camp to its eight weeks of basic training to provide recruits with leadership and life skills that reinforce "character development with a warfighting spirit."

Driving the news: The boot camp also addresses suicide prevention and combat issues such as sexual assault, hazing and extremism, which have risen in recent years, the Associated Press reports.

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker

University of Michigan reaches $490M settlement in sex abuse case

Jon Vaughn, a former University of Michigan and NFL football player, speaks at a press conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., in June 2021. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The University of Michigan on Wednesday reached a $490 million settlement with over a thousand survivors who allege that they were sexually assaulted by a former physician in the school's athletic department.

Driving the news: "It's been a long and challenging journey and these survivors have refused to remain silent," attorney Parker Stinar said Wednesday.