The Hawaii Department of Health today issued an order to the United States Navy to suspend operations at its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, take measures to treat contaminated drinking water at the Red Hill well shaft and safely remove fuel from its 20 underground storage tanks at Red Hill.
“I appreciate the Navy’s announcement that it has temporarily suspended its fuel operations at Red Hill. Hawaii’s wellbeing and the safety of our residents, including military families, must come first. We cannot have national security without ensuring public health and safety,” Ige said. “There are still really important questions that need to be answered and the Order being issued by the Department of Health will help all parties get there. We are actively engaged in getting to the bottom of the issue as quickly as possible and as safely as possible.”
State Health Director Dr. Libby Char added, “the Department of Health is taking action to fulfill our mission of protecting human health and the environment.
“The Navy’s contamination of drinking water has impacted all Oahu residents—military and civilian — and we must take appropriate steps to safeguard the drinking water we all share as a community.”
According to the order, the Navy is ordered to:
>> Immediately suspend operations at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Tanks, including fuel transfers. The Navy must continue to maintain environmental and monitoring controls.
>> Take immediate steps to install drinking water treatment system(s) at Red Hill Shaft to ensure distribution of drinking water conforms to the standards prescribed by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and applicable federal and state regulations. This action should also minimize movement of the contaminant plume(s).
>> Submit a workplan and implementation schedule within 30 days, prepared by a qualified independent third party approved by DOH, to assess the operations and system integrity to safely defuel the Bulk Fuel Storage Tanks. Upon DOH’s approval of the assessment, workplan and implementation schedule, the Navy must make necessary corrective actions to address any deficiencies as expeditiously as possible.
>> Within 30 days of completion of required corrective actions, remove fuel from the Bulk Fuel Storage Tanks at the Red Hill facility.
>> Within 30 days of receipt of this EO submit a workplan and implementation schedule, prepared by a qualified independent third party approved by DOH, to assess operations and system integrity of the Red Hill facility to determine design and operational deficiencies that may impact the environment and develop recommendations for corrective action. Upon the Department’s approval, the Navy must perform work and implement corrective actions as expeditiously as possible.