Red Hill Cleanup
Navy Fuel storage facility threatens Oahu drinking water supply
In January 2014, the U.S. Navy reported that 27,000 gallons of jet fuel leaked from a tank at its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. This facility holds twenty fuel storage tanks and is located a mere 100 feet above Oʻahu’s primary aquifer that serves over 600,000 residents from Hālawa to Hawaiʻi Kai.
Previous studies have shown this is not the first leak from this facility—since its construction in the 1940s, this facility has leaked as much as 200,000 gallons of fuel into the environment—and the groundwater beneath the tanks may already be contaminated with fuel. YPDA Hawaii, along with the Sierra Club of Hawaii and other environmental watchdog groups, is concerned these tanks will continue to leak, posing a serious threat to the future of Oʻahu’s drinking water.
Despite these leaks and impending threats, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have released no plans for cleaning up the leaked fuel and offered no assurance that future leaks will not occur. The EPA’s current plan only calls for the monitoring and renovating of these outdated tanks.
We are calling on the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, EPA, and U.S. Navy to:
- Install sufficient “sentinel” monitoring wells to guard public drinking water sources from possible contamination currently in the aquifer;
- Locate the fuel that has already leaked from the storage facility and clean it up; and
- Install genuine leak prevention systems, in addition to leak detection systems, that will guarantee there will be no future leaks from this facility.
If these expectations cannot be met, then the obsolete fuel storage tanks at Red Hill should be retired, and the stored fuel relocated to modern and unhazardous facilities that comply with today’s strict environmental standards.
2017 BILLS WE SUPPORT
SB 1259: Requires the department of health to adopt rules for underground storage tanks and tank systems to conform with certain federal regulations and that include additional requirements for field-constructed underground storage tanks and tank systems. Testify on this measure.