EPA, DOH reject Navy’s proposed plan to address Red Hill fuel leaks

Red Hill fuel storage facility
Red Hill fuel storage facility

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawaii Department of Health have rejected the U.S. Navy’s proposed plan to address leaks from its Red Hill fuel tanks.

In January 2014, 27,000 gallons of jet fuel leaked from underground storage tanks, and officials want to make sure it never happens again.

The EPA and DOH issued a joint letter last month “disapproving the Work Plan,” because it doesn’t adequately describe what needs to be done to protect drinking water resources, establish likely groundwater flow directions, and predict the movement of potential contamination should future leaks occur.

The letter outlines 11 inadequacies that require correction, and the Navy has 30 days to submit its revisions.

The Navy issued the following response:

We are meeting all EPA and DOH requests for additional data and details for implementation. Our common goal is to keep the drinking water safe.

This is a normal part of the AOC (Administrative Order on Consent) process, and the working relationship continues to be cordial and professional. We participated in face-to-face meetings this week, and we will continue discussions with regulators and stakeholders.

We are committed to a comprehensive, collaborative and fact-based approach to operating and upgrading Red Hill, one that meets or exceeds expectations of regulators and local community stakeholders.

We appreciate the complex nature of developing a comprehensive work plan for a facility of such unique size and scope. We are committed to keeping Oahu’s drinking water safe, both now and into the future.

An update will be given at a meeting Thursday, 6-8:30 p.m., at Moanalua Middle School. The public will be able to meet with the parties involved and ask questions related to the project.

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