Pearl Harbor water crisis blamed on 'failed infrastructure': report
Girl drinks water from a glass (Shutterstock)

This week, Americans remembered the bombing of Pearl Harbor 80 years ago. World War II soldiers gathered to remember those who died and heroes who would rise to risk their own lives to save others. But, behind the scenes, those currently living and serving in Pearl Harbor couldn't even drink the water coming out of their pipes.

CNN.com reported that the failed infrastructure in Hawaii led the state's Department of Health to alert the Navy that they must take action to clean their drinking water after they found a petroleum leak near Honolulu.

It turns out that the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, built during World War II, "sits a mere 100 feet above the Red Hill aquifer, which supplies drinking water not only to the Navy base but also to other parts of Hawaii."

The area's former representative in Congress, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), frequently referred to herself as the first "water woman," discussing the need for clean waterways "from Standing Rock to Maui." While the rivers, waterfalls and streams in Maui are critical to the ecosystem of the islands, Gabbard's own district on O'ahu Island was in desperate need of federal dollars to replace the Red Hill facility. In a statement after the news broke, Gabbard, who is no longer in Congress, lambasted the Navy and the EPA, saying that "urgent attention" was needed to ensure the safety of the water.

"Places like Hawaii and Guam and Okinawa and Puerto Rico are treated as marginal, as if we can be sacrificed," CNN cited Kyle Kajihiro, from the University of Hawaiʻi. "This is why residents see this pattern of environmental destruction and contamination."

As the island faced the crisis, the EPA released more than $7 billion from President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure package to address the water crisis facing many Americans.

The high lead content in water awakened the nation to the water crisis facing citizens not just in Flint, Michigan but other communities across the country. In fact, nearly 45 million Americans drank water that violated health standards, according to a 2018 study.

Denmark, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Newark, New Jersey, and even Washington, DC are among the worst in the nation for drinking water. Washington started a program that has worked over the past two decades to replace lead pipes in a city that first built its infrastructure in the early 1800s. A report from the early 2000s revealed that children in the city had lead poisoning due to the water in the city.

In fact, water quality has been so poor in Washington over the years that it's credited with likely killing three presidents, It turns out the White House water source was coming from an area of the city where excrement was also disposed. Even today, the water quality at the U.S. Capitol is lead free, but not all homes and apartments around the building share the same benefits, meaning members of Congress could be causing their own brain damage just by drinking the water.

Read the full CNN.com report here.