EPA probe of Red Hill facility begins this week to look into Navy’s operation of fuel tanks
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new major investigation begins this week into the controversial Red Hill fuel facility.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will look into whether the Navy has been properly operating the fuel tanks.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the agency would be doing a full search. The EPA already toured the facility last week and noted issues that needed correction.
“We’re putting the communities first,” Regan said. “We know that there’s been a loss of trust in the state, federal and local governments.”
“People deserve to have clean, safe drinking water. And so we’re going to move in, do our inspection, and we’re going to do our jobs. And we want the communities to have faith that we’re going to do our jobs as an independent agency.”
Regan said in last week’s press conference that they would be taking a look at whether or not the facility operated within the guidelines of the law, and make corrections if needed.
He said the agency will look at what went wrong at Red Hill before, during and after the fuel spill.
This wouldn’t be the first time the EPA investigated the facility. A major leak in 2014 prompted it to improve its monitoring, but the agency said it was still surprised by November’s leak.
Regan said he has been in conversations with the Secretary of Defense, working toward a goal of protecting Hawaii’s drinking water.
“The bottom line is there’s been a lot of lessons learned here over the years at the expense of the communities, and that’s not right,” Regan said. “I’ve had a number of conversations with the Secretary of Defense, so we’re having these conversations at the cabinet level, and we’re all working for the ultimate solution, which is protecting the drinking water for the people of Hawaii.”
Over the weekend, the military released video of Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro touring the industrial filtration systems at Red Hill.
He also met with families affected by the tainted water.
The EPA did not say how long its investigation will take.
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