Military leaders: Red Hill defueling plan ‘on track’ as Navy water testing continues
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Department of Defense says its plan to close the Red Hill Facility remains on track, with defueling to begin in February 2024 and completed by June 2024.
In a news release, the DOD said Joint Task Force Red Hill commander Vice Admiral John Wade briefed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and other senior military officials on Thursday.
That included the Secretary of the Navy, the Secretary of the Air Force, and the INDO-PACOM commander.
Austin was also briefed on cleanup efforts for the diesel spill at Haleakala.
Meantime, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam addressed concerns about water safety on a Facebook Live.
“That water is being supplied from the Waiawa shaft which is six miles west of the Red Hill shaft,” said Capt. Mark Sohaney, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
“The Red Hill shaft that was used to supply water is no longer and has not been providing potable water.”
Sohaney also discussed a water sampling program the Navy started last year.
Results can be viewed at jbphh-safewaters.org.
“We’ve collected 4,600 samples from all 19 zones, which were divided up during the water crisis,” said Sarah Moody, Red Hill environmental deputy for strategic operations.
“All of those samples continue to show that the water meets safe drinking water standards.”
Residents can get their water checked by calling 808-449-1979.
While water advocates want defueling to start sooner, they acknowledge the Navy’s efforts to keep people informed.
“Families on Oahu need to have that information in order to make decisions that’s best for their own families,” said Healani Sonoda-Pale, of the nonprofit advocacy group Oahu Water Protectors.
“They need to know what’s in our water, we need to know what is happening on these bases and what’s being put into our environment into our soil and water.”
For non-military residents who received a 1099 and may have to pay taxes on payments the Navy gave them for housing during the water crisis, there’s been no resolution yet.
“The Department of Defense and the Treasury Department are working on this issue,” Sohaney said.
Navy officials will host an information fair on April 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bloch Arena.
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