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Rear Admiral John Wade to lead Red Hill defueling

  • 2022 JANUARY 28 CTY RED HILL SHAFT HSA PHOTO BY CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM The U.S. Navy leads a media tour of the Red Hill Shaft in Halawa on Friday, January 28, 2022. In a few days, the Navy will begin filtering about 5 million gallons of fuel contaminated water per day. The filtered water will then be released into the Halawa Stream. Pictured is once section of the Red Hill Shaft access tunnel.

Rear Adm. John Wade will serve as commander of a joint task force overseeing the defueling and permanent closure of the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility, the Department of Defense announced today.

DOD announced the creation of the Joint Task Force Red Hill earlier this year, saying that the commander’s sole responsibility will be to ensure the safe and expeditious defueling of the underground tanks.

U.S. Sen Brian Schatz said in response that shutting down the facility can not be delayed.

“With a commander now in place, the Joint Task Force can become fully operational and begin to work on-site with state, local, and community leaders to safely and quickly defuel Red Hill,” said Schatz.

He said the DOD is “perfectly capable” of meeting a tight timeframe given the emergency situation.

“Our water was poisoned. Of course they need to assess, prepare, and drain the tanks in a way that is safe and doesn’t cause more contamination, but anything resembling a delay, intentional or not, is totally unacceptable,” said Schatz. “As a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I will use every tool, every power, and every resource at my disposal to drain the tanks as soon as possible.”

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