Hawaii News Hawaii health inspectors fine U.S. Navy more than $325K for safety violations at Red Hill By Sophie Cocke firstname.lastname@example.org Oct. 28, 2021 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! COURTESY U.S. NAVY / 2018 A view of the tunnel inside the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility. The Hawaii Department of Health has fined the U.S. Navy $325,182 for safety violations uncovered last year during an inspection of its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility near Pearl Harbor. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. The Hawaii Department of Health has fined the U.S. Navy $325,182 for safety violations uncovered last year during an inspection of its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility near Pearl Harbor. The Navy failed to maintain adequate leak detection at two underground fuel recovery storage tanks and hadn’t performed needed testing of repaired piping, among other safety violations, according to state health officials. The Navy, which has 20 days to contest the violation order, suggested to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that it was caught off guard by the fines. At the time of the inspection “no significant non-compliance issues were noted,” said Navy Region Hawaii spokesman Mike Andrews in an email. “DOH stated we would have the final report by Jan. 1, 2021,” said Andrews. “It has been 12 months since the compliance inspection, and we still have not received the inspection report.” Andrews said that the Navy had received “no prior communication on possible violations” before receiving the notice of violation from the Department of Health on Tuesday. A Department of Health spokeswoman, in response, said that, “regardless of the Navy’s expectation, the Notice of Violation and Order was the appropriate manner to seek corrections of violations as expeditiously as possible.” The Department of Health’s inspection of Red Hill last year, which took place between Sept. 28 and Oct. 9, 2020, is the first since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency strengthened its regulations of underground storage tanks in 2015. The Department of Health subsequently adopted EPA’s updates, as well as additional environmental safeguards, in 2018. “The state’s effort to strengthen regulations around inspection and monitoring was critical to identifying these violations and ensuring that underground storage tanks are maintained safely,” Kathleen Ho, the deputy director of environmental health for the Department of Health, said in a press release. “DOH will continue to enforce all regulations to protect Hawaii residents and our environment.” It took a year to issue the notice of violation due to the complexity of the case, according to the Department of Health. The department said the inspection was extensive and involved not only the 20 underground fuel storage tanks, but also other tanks, an underground tank system that fuels aircraft and a complex system of piping. “It is not unusual for DOH to take a year to evaluate compliance under similar circumstances in complex cases,” the Department of Health said by email. “The inspection process involves collecting information from many different sources and coordinating multiple site visits, a process compounded by both the complexity of the Red Hill system and the fact that it is a highly active military installation.” Red Hill has been subject to intense scrutiny by government regulators and environmentalists in recent years amid mounting concerns that the massive underground fuel farm could contaminate a major source of drinking water for Oahu. The notice of violation includes five counts: >> $30,000 fine for failing to operate and maintain corrosion protection on metal components of tank and piping that are in contact with the ground. >> $179,982 fine for failing to perform line tightness testing of repaired piping before returning it to service. >> $22,950 fine for failing to perform an annual liquid tightness test on spill prevention equipment to prevent releases to the environment. >> $90,000 for failing to maintain adequate release detection for two double-walled underground storage tanks for recovered fuel. >> $2,250 for failing to perform an adequate, visual inspection of hydrant pits. Andrews said that the Navy is reviewing the violation notice to determine how to respond. “The Navy remains committed to maintaining safety in all operations of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility and to timely communication with state and federal regulators,” he said. 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