Navy investigation finds Hawaii water crisis exacerbated by “unacceptable failure of on-scene leadership”

The drinking water of thousands of Hawaii residents was contaminated last year as a result of Navy officers’ lack of leadership on the scene in the days following a fuel storage facility leak, according to two recently published investigations.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William Lescher stated that the reaction fell “unacceptably short of the Navy standards for leadership, ownership, and the safety of our communities” in support of the probe.

In November 2021, a leak from Oahu’s Red Hill underground storage facility exposed roughly 20,000 gallons of jet fuel. Over 90,000 people had their drinking water compromised by the leak, which also required hundreds of families to spend weeks away from their homes over the holidays.

Although the study determined that human error was initially to blame for the breaches, it also came to the conclusion that leaders lacked awareness of the possible impact on the drinking water and how to react.

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