Legal claims are piling up.

The U.S. Navy was hit with new legal claims on Monday from families who were sickened by military fuel that contaminated their drinking water in 2021.

The Federal Tort Claims Act complaint was filed in federal court by former Hawaii attorney general Margery Bronster, who is representing civilian residents of the Pearl Harbor water system.

The lawsuit argues that the Navy failed to exercise reasonable care in its operation of its World War II-era Red Hill fuel facility, located just 100 feet above the island’s primary aquifer. Military investigations found that fuel leaked into the water following a series of failures in leadership, training and maintence. After discovering a catastrophic leak of fuel into a tunnel near the drinking water well in November 2021, the Navy kept delivering water to communities for days and failed to warn them that the water could be unsafe.

Families who ingested and bathed in the fuel-tainted water experienced impacts to their health and finances, the lawsuits notes. They are seeking compensation for their injuries.

“In the spill’s early days, residents ingested highly toxic chemicals as the Navy remained silent,” the complaint states. “After the spill, the Navy’s modest efforts at remediation and ‘assistance’ have only compounded Plaintiffs’ injuries and frustration. Their lives may never be the same.”

The case is the latest in a series of legal claims filed by impacted military members and their families against the Navy and military housing companies.

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