Proposed settlement over Sand Island fuel spill calls for major repairs of storage tanks

Proposed settlement over Sand Island fuel spill

SAND ISLAND, OAHU (HAWAIINEWSNOW) - Major repairs are underway at Hawaii Fueling Facilities Corp.'s massive storage tanks at Sand Island after January's 42,000 gallon jet fuel spill.

In a proposed settlement agreement, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration says there are flaws in several other tanks that need repairing. Those fixes are critical because this year's spill came within 50 yards of contaminating the Keehi Lagoon and the ocean.

"I think there should be a substantial fine, penalty in the millions to compensate. And there should be a fine to compensate for the loss and impact on the environment," said environmental activist Carroll Cox.

The owner, the Hawaii Fueling Facilities Corporation, declined comment, saying only that it is cooperating with the feds. That cooperation comes after a June report by the federal pipeline safety agency which blasted the company for lax supervision.

"(The company) did inspections and the inspections were flawed. Just a great number of thing that were not done properly," Cox said. "There's several tanks that they're having to remediate, clean and fix because of concerns that they were degraded."

Marti Townsend of the Sierra Club says these massive fuel tanks are a ticking time bomb. Nearly two years ago, the Navy's Bulk Fuel Storage Facility at Red Hill leaked about 27,000 gallons of jet fuel near Oahu's main drinking water sources.

"They're a serious problem. These aging storage tanks pose a risk to our natural and cultural resources," she said.

The settlement with the pipeline agency will be finalized over the next few weeks. However, a separate investigation by the state Health Department and Environmental Protection Agency is still pending.

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