The Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office says it will be launching a probe into the operations, maintenance and safety of the Navy’s underground Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.
Pentagon Assistant Inspector General Randolph Stone disclosed the investigation in a memo today to the offices of the Secretary of the Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency.
“The objective of this evaluation is to determine the extent that Navy officials managed the operation, maintenance, safety, and oversight of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, and protected the environment and drinking water systems, in compliance with Federal and state regulations and (Department of Defense) policy,” Stone’s memo says. “We may revise the objective as the evaluation proceeds.”
Hawaii’s Congressional delegation called for an Inspector General investigation of the Red Hill facility after last month’s contamination of the Navy’s water system that serves 93,000 people on Oahu.
Navy officials now say they believe a Nov. 20 spill of jet fuel from Red Hill is the cause of the contamination, but insist it was an isolated incident.
Gov. David Ige issued an emergency order calling on the Navy to de-fuel the facility’s tanks until the Navy can prove they can operate safely. Top Navy officials said they intend to fight Ige’s order.
The memo said investigators will “perform the evaluation at the Department of the Navy, including the Navy Installations Command; Naval Facilities Command; Naval Supply Systems Command; and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Additionally, we will perform the evaluation at the Offices of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and the Defense Logistics Agency. We may arrange visits to other organizations and locations.”