State rules for Sierra Club in lawsuit over aging military fuel tanks

Published: Feb. 7, 2017 at 10:17 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2018 at 5:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A state judge on Wednesday ruled for the Sierra Club in a lawsuit against the state Health Department over fuel spills near water tanks located beneath Red Hill.

A spokesperson for the environmental advocacy group says Circuit Judge Jeff Crabtree granted the Sierra Club a summary judgement that says a previous exemption that was granted to the Navy for the massive fuel tanks violates state law.

In January 2014, more than 27,000 gallons of jet fuel leaked from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Multiple tests conducted after the spill showed drinking water was never contaminated, but the Honolulu Board of Water Supply worried that another leak could potentially result in fuel dripping into the city's water supply.

After repairs on the 2014 leak were finished, the Navy began conducting annual tests on the tanks. The most recent test, which began in November, resulted in passing grades for each of operating tanks beneath Red Hill.

The tests are conducted based on criteria determined by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Navy initially wanted 20 years to retrofit the facility, but Wednesday's ruling will likely force the military into action much sooner, the spokesperson said.

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