HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Two restaurants at Moanalua Shopping Center were briefly shut down last week for using water from the Navy’s tainted water line.
And the state health official who issued the red placards says there’s lack of communication about the issue between the Navy and the Health Department.
Several of the big corporate restaurants at Moanalua Shopping Center have voluntarily shut down.
But some of the smaller eateries and mom-and-pops are still open.
The Health Department’s Food Safety Branch says that’s OK as long as they are not using tap water for cooking, drinking or washing.
Signs at Moanalua Shopping Center are everywhere that restaurants are closed or they’re open because they’re using an alternative water source.
But last week, the state Health Department issued red placards to Yummy Korean BBQ and Loco Moco Drive Inn for washing dishes with the Navy’s tap water.
“I’m just here to notify the public that the Moanalua Shopping Center and many of the tenants may have been using this tainted water supply,” said Peter Oshiro, head of the state’s Food Safety Program, housed within the state Health Department where the Clean Water Branch is also located.
Despite DOH oversight on the tainted water issue, Oshiro said his staff rushed to inspect the shopping center’s eateries after what he said was a lack of information from the Navy and Health Department.
“We were not getting good information, also meaning my program, which is why I had to do some scrambling with my staff,” said Oshiro.
The restaurants are back open with green placards and they’re using bottled water. A Moanalua Shoppping Center spokesperson says the tap water was never used for consumption.
“Since this Navy Water contamination started we have been working diligently to do all we can to ensure that our tenants at Moanalua Shopping Center are receiving clean water,” said Sheryl Siu, general manager, in an email last week to health officials.
“In addition to working with the Navy to get updated, we have taken it amongst ourselves to send the water from our main line to two different labs on the mainland,” the email added.
Kathleen Ho, state Health Department deputy director, said the agency has been communicating widely about the tainted water issue.
She says a health advisory was issued to the public Nov. 29 that 93,000 people on the Navy’s waterline should not to drink the tap water.
The Navy also says it’s been communicating.
Lydia Robertson, Navy Region Hawaii public affairs officer, said it reached out to Moanalua Shopping Center on Dec. 4 to alert them about the contamination advisory.
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