Report: Major repairs needed to Red Hill facility in order to safely empty fuel tanks
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Major structural repairs are needed to the Red Hill underground storage facility in order to safely empty the fuel tanks and minimize the risk of another spill, according to a new assessment report prepared for the Navy.
The 800-page, heavily-redacted report was released by the state Health Department on Friday afternoon.
It concludes that the needed repairs will be “extensive” and stretch along the entire fuel distribution system.
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The assessment raises new questions about how long it will take for the Navy to empty the fuel tanks ― and just how risky that work will be. Spills from tanks tainted the Navy’s water system late last year, triggering a water crisis that continues.
David Henken, senior attorney with Earthjustice, said the report underscores the need to work quickly.
“Now that the Navy’s own independent assessment says that there are massive problems we need to get on fixing those,” he said. “There’s no excuse for taking a leisurely another year to sort of slow walk the defueling.”
The report did not offer a price tag.
But according to the Navy’s estimate, preparing the facility for defueling could take up to a year while removing fuel could take another two years.
“This report describes extensive and critical repairs that are needed to safely defuel and decommission Red Hill,” said Kathleen Ho, deputy director of Environmental Health, in a news release.
“While the need to defuel Red Hill is urgent, public and environmental safety remain the first priority.”
DOH ordered the Navy to have a schedule to drain all 20 underground tanks no later than June 30. The Navy must have a clear plan to dismantle the tanks by November.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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