A leaked report that shows the military knew for years about dangers to civilian areas follows disclosures of toxic PFAS contamination hidden from the Senate.

By Jon Mitchell, The Intercept

A leaked report describes significant deficiencies in the safety and integrity of the pipelines used by the U.S. military to shuttle fuel to U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force warplanes in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. As early as 2014, the military discovered monitoring system flaws and dangerous leakages in the pipelines, some of which run beneath civilian communities, but it waited four years before initiating repairs and has never alerted Japanese authorities. The dangers have only come to light thanks to a whistleblower who made public a report produced under contract for the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, or DLA-E, the Department of Defense agency that supplies fuel to military facilities.

Published in March 2015, the report details inspections of vapor monitoring systems that detect fuel leaks along the 100-plus miles of pipelines in the prefecture. The results showed 43 of the 60 monitoring systems were inoperable due to problems like broken sensors and alarms; in at least one case, the alarm and sensor system were missing entirely. The devices are supposed to notify the local DLA-E compound of leaks, which can cause environmental contamination, explosions, and fires.

Battleship with a map of Okinawa next to it

The disclosure comes on top of recent revelations that the military may have hidden details of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, contamination on Okinawa from a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, including information pointing to the possible exposure of children at a civilian school.

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