The Stream, December 8, 2021: Hundreds Evacuate Oahu Military Base After Water Supplies Are Contaminated


  • Despite evidence it could contaminate drinking water, the New South Wales government is reversing a decision to block a mine expansion project.
  • Petroleum products contaminate the largest water system on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
  • The department in charge Maryland’s water supply is severely underfunded and understaffed, a new analysis finds.
  • Iraq has completed paperwork to file a lawsuit against Iran’s water policy.

A town in Wisconsin is one step closer to securing a safe water supply.

“They’re really tired of waiting for action — whatever that action ends up resulting in. They’re just tired of waiting for this to have been made a priority.” – Cindy Boyle, the town board chair in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. Tyco Fire Products and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources took part in a virtual water summit this week to negotiate a permanent solution for PFAS contaminants in the water supply in the town of Peshtigo. The meetings come nearly eight years after the pollution was discovered at Tyco’s fire training facility in a nearby town. The details of the meetings will not be disclosed to the public, although documents obtained by Wisconsin Public Radio say that Tyco has agreed to pay the mediator’s fees and expenses up to $25,000.


In Case You Missed It:

As West Withers Corporations Consolidate Land and Water Rights – With farms, ranches and rural communities facing unprecedented threats, a worrying trend leads to a critical question: Who owns the water? This piece was originally published by Columbia Insight as part of Tapped Out, a series documenting power and water justice in the rural American West.

HotSpots H2O: Ongoing Madagascar Famine Is Driven By Poverty, Not Climate Change – A new study shows the vulnerability of the world’s poorest nations even without climate breakdowns, its authors say.

A Mine Expansion Project in New South Wales Will Move Forward Despite Environmental Impact

The New South Wales government has overturned a decision to block a mine expansion despite evidence the project could irreversibly damage drinking water supplies. In February, the planning commission rejected the proposal, but this week the NSW deputy premier and planning minster announced the project would move forward, citing economic benefits.


14,000 GALLONS (53,000 LITERS)

Hundreds of military service members and their families have been evacuated after officials confirmed that petroleum products contaminated the largest water system on the island of Oahu. Last month, the Navy revealed that a mixture of water and fuel had leaked into a fire suppression system drain line at a fuel storage facility inland from the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. So far, 14,000 gallons (53,000 liters) of the liquid has been removed from the facility. In the meantime, many military families have switched to a private water delivery service, while others are relying on the military for daily water deliveries and temporary laundry and shower facilities.


A recent analysis commissioned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that the Maryland Department of the Environment, which is responsible for overseeing the drinking water supplies of 5.7 million people, is severely underfunded and understaffed. The analysis, conducted by the consultant group Cadmus, found that the agency needs nearly three times the staff and twice the budget to ensure the state’s drinking water is safe.


Iraq is poised to sue Iran for allegedly reducing water flows from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in addition to endangering Iraq’s agricultural sector and drinking water supply. The construction of dams upstream in Iran and other neighboring countries has limited Iraq’s water supplies over the years, which is now amplified by severe drought and low rainfall.

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