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State: Navy has not shown Red Hill fuel tanks safe from possible ‘significant’ future 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)
Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 6:52 AM HST|Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 10:44 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Health has found the U.S. Navy has not shown its underground fuel tanks at Red Hill are safe from potentially “significant” future leaks.

The state Attorney General’s Office said an investigation showed the tanks don’t meet corrosion protection requirements. According to documents, the massive steel tanks are already rusting.

The DOH Environmental Health Administration said even though the tanks are steel and there’s a concrete layer over the material, they’re not adequately protected. That’s because there’s a space between the steel and concrete itself, allowing moisture in and leading to corrosion.

The Navy is applying for a 5-year permit to continue storing the tanks at the Red Hill facility.

In 2014, 27,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled from the tanks. And just this year, 1,000 gallons of fuel leaked in May.

Environmentalists are concerned because the underground tanks sit just 100 feet above a major aquifer.

The DOH has the final say on whether to approve the Navy’s permit.

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