Military affirms timeline to defuel Red Hill, as Walk For Water event aims to underscore urgency of crisis
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The military says it’s on track to defuel the Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility by next summer.
Joint Task Force-Red Hill said Friday it received six conditional approvals from the Department of Health on 253 repairs that were mandated before the jet fuel could be removed.
Also this week, nearly 1,100 gallons of water were removed from 14 tanks as part of maintenance.
The military has about 80 more repairs to complete by the end of May.
“We have to complete those repairs first. They’re laborious, they’re meticulous, and we want to make sure that we get it right. And we take the time to do that. Once the repairs are done. That’s not where it stops, we have to be inspected, we have to be evaluated and we have to meet DOH requirements to sign that repair off. Once that’s done, we have a lot of other work in order to move 104 million gallons of fuel. So it does take time,” said Commander Nico Melendez, spokesperson for JTF-Red Hill.
The public can track repairs, DOH approvals and other developments on the JTF-Red Hill online dashboard at pacom.mil/JTF-Red-Hill.
Officials also invite the public to share their concerns at an open house on May 23rd and 24th at Ke’ehu Lagoon Memorial Park from 4-7 p.m.
Not everyone is happy with the pace at which the military is defueling the Red Hill facility. Safe water advocates continue to call for the facility’s immediate shut down, and tomorrow, a group will host a “Walk For Water” at 8 a.m. at Ala Moana Regional Park.
Organizers David Nakamoto and Sergio Alcubilla joined HNN’s Sunrise Weekends to talk about their efforts to put pressure on the military.
Nakamoto said they understand that making repairs, getting DOH approvals, and doing practice drills take time and don’t support taking shortcuts. He says advocates want to raise awareness about Hawaii’s water crisis and highlight the urgency of the situation.
Kupuna from 15 Craigside senior living facility also created signs for those taking part in the “Walk For Water to Shut Down Red Hill” on Sunday, April 23, at 8 a.m., at Ala Moana Regional Park and Magic Island. To register for the Walk at www.redhillwalkforwater.com or make a monetary donation at https://bit.ly/w4w-2023 to help fund the Walk and contribute to the Sierra Club of Hawaii’s Red Hill fund.
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