With me being new to the area, people always ask me where I’m from. Hawaii! Sounds pretty great right? So, why would I give up my Hawaiian life to move to Iowa? Truth be told, we didn’t really have a choice. At the time, we were living next to the Navy base on Ewa Beach. We didn’t think much of it, until the Navy accidentally leaked jet fuel (petroleum) into their water system. And guess where our water system was connected? You guessed it—the Navy base. All of the homes in our neighborhood were contaminated; we could smell oil coming out of every faucet. The leak affected so many people. An average of 60 different families had to move away because they couldn’t survive in their current houses. How did this petroleum affect us? We felt sick the majority of the time we spent inside our home, and we had to deal with nasty oil stink coming out of all the faucets, headaches, itchiness, trouble breathing, faintness, and severe muscle cramping. We didn’t have access to showers either because the water wasn’t safe. So, how did we bathe? We had to buy about 15 gallons of water jugs from Walmart just for one bathful of water. The process to fill up the bath tub wasn’t simple either. We had to fill these large pots with water, boil them above the stove to keep the water warm, then dump them into the bathtub—rinse and repeat. Not only was this process expensive—it was tedious.
That’s not even the worst part. The worst thing was how we were being compensated. Spoiler alert: we weren’t. At first, Kapilina (the landlords of our neighborhood) denied that we were affected. The Navy, after hearing Kapilina’s response to the leak, decided to help families by giving them free housing (paying for hotels), free water, and providing any assistance families may have needed. As for us? We got nothing. Why? We technically don’t qualify for assistance since we’re not a military family. Thanks to this, we were left to pay for everything on our own. Kapilina also forced us to pay full rent, despite not being able to access any water at the time. The bills just got too expensive, so we had to move somewhere else. And, for those of you who don't know, housing isn’t cheap in Hawaii. We had to move back to the mainland. So, where does that lead us now? We’re currently staying with family here in Iowa until we can get some money to afford our own house here. So, the next time your faucets start to smell, be very careful and make sure you report it as soon as possible. Trust me, you do not want to live in an oil fumed home. Links:https://www.khon2.com/local-news/iroquois-point-added-to-armys-affected-areas-list-civilians-left-with-no-answers-or-assistance/