to be tested
Tests have neverBy Lori Tighe
been done at homes
Still unconvinced their water is safe, Village Park residents have asked for their water at home to be tested. The Board of Water Supply has agreed.
Board Manager Clifford Jamile approved testing the water in 10 residents' homes at last night's informational meeting at Kaleiopuu Elementary School, which drew about 200 people.
"That's not an unreasonable request," Jamile said in response to an angry woman who asked the board to sample water directly from the homes. Residents applauded her.
Water tests have been done before and after treatment, but not at the homes. Residents said they believe it could be contaminated somehow from the plant to their homes.
Residents have complained to the state they have higher rates of Down syndrome, learning disabilities, asthma, lupus and infertility because of pesticides that leached into the water supply some 30 years ago.
The law firm of Tam and Stanford is suing pesticide makers and users, whom residents believe caused their problems.
Washington, D.C.-based toxicologist Robert Tardiff reported at the meeting how the drinking water most likely didn't make Village Park sick. Since the Board of Water Supply began filtering the water with a granular activated carbon system in the 1980s, the levels of three agricultural pesticides have been below the state's maximum contamination levels.
Tardiff pointed to genetics and other risk factors, such as smoking and drinking, as possibly causing their ailments.
"I don't think he should have stated everything is genetic," said Cheryl Yamane, a Village Park resident for 13 years. Her 6-year-old son has Down syndrome, and her 11- and 16-year-old sons have learning disabilities. "In a lot of cases here, genetics has been ruled out."
"I'm not satisfied. I believe more studies should be done and the Department of Health should get involved," she said.
Leslie Tamashiro, who has lupus, an autoimmune disease that can be fatal, said she knows of 25 other Village Park neighbors who also have it.
"It's not really a place we want to stay in," said Tamashiro, who's lived in Village Park for 10 years and began suffering symptoms three years ago. "Until the Department of Health does a thorough study, I don't think what's out there is telling us much."
The Department of Health will reveal the results of its $220,000 soil test to Village Park on Dec. 7 at the same elementary school, said Gary Gill, deputy director of environmental health.
"By the next legislative session, we'll have more data, more soil samples, more results," Gill said.
The fact still remains, the community was ingesting contaminants before the Board of Water Supply's filtration systems in the 1980s, said Bob Achi, president of Citizens for a Safe Environment.
"We don't fault the Board of Water Supply; we fault the polluters. We're grateful and we commend the board for what they're doing," Achi said. "He shed light on some of the things."
Jamile told residents, "This is not the end of our information gathering."