Pearl Harbor-Hickam Water Contamination Lawsuit

After jet fuel leaked into the drinking water for the Pearl Harbor-Hickam military base, victims of water contamination there are filing lawsuits after suffering serious health concerns, and Phillips Law Group may be able to assist with related legal action. The Pearl Harbor-Hickam water contamination situation is very serious, and we want to help those who have been impacted seek justice for their pain and suffering. 

What Happened at the Pearl Harbor-Hickam Base?

In 2021, jet fuel leaked into the water system serving 93,000 people on and near the Pearl Harbor base, according to the Associated Press

More specifically, NPR reported, “A Navy investigation report in 2022 listed a cascading series of mistakes from May 6, 2021, when an operator error caused a pipe to rupture and caused 21,000 gallons (80,000 liters) of fuel to spill while it was transferred between tanks. Most of this fuel spilled into a fire suppression line and sat there for six months, causing the line to sag. When a cart rammed into this sagging line on Nov. 20, it released 20,000 gallons (75,700 liters) of fuel.”

Although the Navy claimed the amount of fuel that ended up in the drinking water “cannot be calculated, but is assessed to be small,” people in the area began to experience symptoms even as the Navy first told residents it was alright for them to drink and use their water.

Even though U.S. Department of Justice attorneys wrote in court documents that the government admitted the November 2021 spill at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility “caused a nuisance” for the plaintiffs, and that the United States “breached its duty of care,” the allegations that the jet fuel exposure was enough to cause alleged health problems were disputed, AP News reported.

Additional Potential Exposure

Then, in November 2022, due to an error by a maintenance contractor, 1,300 gallons of toxic fire suppressant was spilled at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage site near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, according to Navy Times

Investigators from the military discovered that the contractor “improperly installed an air vacuum valve on the system that carries Aqueous Film Forming Foam, used to suppress fires caused by flammable liquids, just inside the underground facility’s Adit 6 tunnel in April 2022.” Additionally, the same contractor did not disable AFFF pumps from automatically starting before fire suppression system testing on November 29, 2022, leading to “an uncontrolled discharge of the toxic chemicals.” Unfortunately, chemicals contained in firefighting foam may increase the risk of different types of cancer. 

Later routine testing of the groundwater and soil at Pearl Harbor-Hickam found PFAS contamination in the groundwater. PFAS chemicals are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.”

Pearl Harbor-Hickam Water Contamination Treatment

In early 2023, the United States Armed Forces and Defense Health Agency opened a clinic established to treat victims of water fuel contamination at the Pearl Harbor-Hickam base. According to the Naval Health Clinic Hawaii website, “The Red Hill Clinic provides medical assessments for all TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries and individuals granted Secretarial Designee status, endorsing symptoms that may be related to the Red Hill fuel release.”

People who were affected by water contamination from November 21, 2021, through March 18, 2022, with various symptoms can be seen there. But not everyone affected may qualify, and some people drinking water at the Pearl Harbor-Hickam base continue to experience symptoms of toxic water exposure. 

Pearl Harbor-Hickam Water Contamination Lawsuits

In April 2024, the Associated Press reported that 17 military members and their families decided to sue the United States over the leak and contaminated water. Now, hundreds of victims are filing lawsuits regarding water contamination at Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

After the Navy told residents the water was safe to drink despite the fact that people living on or near the base could see and smell gasoline in the water they used to cook, drink, clean, bathe, and more, many suffered serious health concerns. If you or a loved one suffered, you may be able to take legal action, and the team at Phillips Law Group may be able to help. 

Water Contamination Health Concerns

Some symptoms that people who drank water at Pearl Harbor-Hickam base have suffered include:

  • Anxiety
  • Burning eyes
  • Changes to taste and/or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Neurological problems
  • Nosebleeds
  • Respiratory problems
  • Sinus issues, including congestion
  • Skin rash
  • Stomach cramps
  • Stomach pain
  • Throat and mouth irritation
  • Vomiting
  • …and more

Contact Phillips Law Group for Assistance

If you or a loved one was impacted by Pearl Harbor-Hickam water contamination and suffered health issues, please contact Phillips Law Group to determine what legal options are available to you. 

If you or your loved one was a resident at or near the base during the time of contamination, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit regarding this matter. We can walk you through eligibility factors in a free, no-obligation consultation and advocate for you every step of the way if you decide to pursue a Pearl Harbor-Hickam water contamination lawsuit. 

Please contact us by calling 602-222-2222 today to learn more. At Phillips Law Group, we have worked with people who were harmed by water contamination at Camp Lejeune and are strong supporters of veterans and active duty servicemembers as well as their families and loved ones. 

We look forward to helping you seek justice and our team is standing by awaiting your call, 24/7. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch today to find out how we may be able to help you.