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State slaps Navy with big fine for violations at embattled Red Hill fuel tank facility

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 3:06 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 3:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Health has fined the Navy more than $325,000 for multiple violations discovered at its Red Hill underground fuel storage facility.

The massive, WWII-era fuel facility sits above the Pearl Harbor aquifer, which supplies drinking water to most of the urban core. The violations come as state lawmakers and environmentalists are seeking answers into a possible cover-up of a fuel leak reported at the facility last year.

Health Department inspectors said they discovered the violations during a routine inspection that took place between Sept. 28 and Oct. 9, 2020.

The state issued a notice of violation and order that included five counts related to the Navy’s failure to prevent the release of fuel into the environment.

The counts include:

  • Failure to perform line tightness testing of repaired piping before returning to fuel service, which resulted in a over $179,900 penalty.
  • Failure to maintain adequate fuel release detection for two double-walled underground recovery storage tanks. This penalty amounted to $90,000.
  • Failure to operate and maintain ongoing corrosion protection to metal components of the portion of the Navy’s tank and piping that contained substances that are in contact with the ground. This violation resulted in a $30,000 penalty.
  • Failure to perform an annual liquid tightness test on spill prevention equipment to prevent fuel releases to the environment. This resulted in a penalty of $22,950.
  • Failure to perform an adequate visual walk-through inspection of hydrant pits, resulting in a penalty of $2,250.

In a statement, the Navy said it had not gotten information on the violations before the notice was issued. “We are reviewing the notice for context and our response,” a spokesperson said.

“The Navy remains committed to maintaining safety in all operations of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility and to timely communication with state and federal Regulators.”

The state said the Navy must comply with the safety guidelines in the order and can appeal the fine.

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