Council calls on regulators to better protect against Red Hill fuel tank leaks

Huge fuel storage tanks at Red Hill have been a community concern for years. (Image: Navy)
Huge fuel storage tanks at Red Hill have been a community concern for years. (Image: Navy)
Updated: Mar. 8, 2019 at 4:31 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu City Council wants to quash the Navy’s plan to use a single-wall upgrade on 18 deteriorating jet fuel tanks at Red Hill.

Council members agree with the Board of Water Supply that the plan puts Honolulu’s water supply at risk.

“This is a precious water supply,” Ernie Lau, of the Board of Water Supply, told the council. “Once it’s contaminated with fuel ... it would be very difficult or nearly impossible to address and clean up the situation.”

The Red Hill bulk storage facility holds over 200 million gallons of fuel ― all of it just 100 feet above a freshwater aquifer that serves residents from Moanalua to Hawaii Kai.

[Read more: BWS balks at study that says sizable leak of Red Hill fuel tank wouldn’t harm water supply]

On Friday, council members passed a resolution that urges the EPA and state Health Department to require the Navy to either use a secondary containment tank or relocate the fuel storage facility altogether.

The Navy, meanwhile, is pushing back.

“The drinking water is safe,” said Navy Capt. Marc Delao. “The Board of Water Supply and other independent tests confirm the water is safe and we are committed to improving and investing in infrastructure.”

The Navy says the City Council resolution only complicates ongoing discussions with regulators.

Since 2006, the military has invested more than a quarter billion dollars in improvements to the 80-year-old tanks and monitoring systems.

He said Navy teams also conduct testing each month and quarterly.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.