Read the full article by Mahealani Richardson (Hawaii News Now)

“HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Honolulu Board of Water Supply officials want answers about toxic chemicals detected in groundwater at Red Hill a year before last month’s spill of firefighting foam.

The chemicals were also found in drinking water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in 2020 and 2021.

As first reported by Hawaii News Now, the EPA and state Health Department said in a letter last month to the Navy that PFAS ― known as forever chemicals ― were detected in groundwater samples on Dec. 20 and 27, 2021.

That was one month after fuel spills tainted the Pearl Harbor drinking water system, sickening thousands of people. And it was a year before 1,300 gallons of firefighting foam containing PFAS was spilled at Red Hill.

“It seems to indicate there is more positive tests for PFAS in the Navy’s drinking water source at Red Hill shaft going back to December of 2021,” said Ernie Lau, Board of Water Supply manager and chief manager.

He says Navy water quality reports for the Pearl Harbor base showed low detections in the drinking water.

“In the years 2021 and 2020, there were also detections of PFAS in their drinking water system. One of them was identified as coming from their Aiea-Halawa shaft,” said Lau.

“So it looks like the presence of PFAS was not unique to last year’s event,” he added.

In the letter, the EPA and Health Department said the groundwater detections were “at low parts per trillion concentrations that are below Hawaii State Environmental Action Levels but above EPA’s interim health advisory levels.” Forever chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, even at low levels.

Regulators said more monitoring and testing are needed.” …