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Navy plan approved by health department following foam leak at Red Hill

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  • COURTESY U.S. NAVY
                                A temporary staging area for aqueous film-forming foam recovery at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility is seen on Wednesday.

    COURTESY U.S. NAVY

    A temporary staging area for aqueous film-forming foam recovery at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility is seen on Wednesday.

The state Department of Health has approved a Navy Sampling and Analysis Plan following the leak of 1,100 gallons of concentrated fire suppressant into the ground at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

The Navy in a news release today announced the sampling plan following the spill of the aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF, which took place Tuesday at the Red Hill facility, where a major fuel leak last year contaminated the drinking water of thousands of people on Oahu.

The Sampling and Analysis Plan, or SAP, was developed in coordination with the DOH and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Navy said in the release. It will test nine groundwater monitoring wells in the vicinity for PFAS, dangerous chemicals found in AFFF.

The DOH had required the Navy to submit a plan to test for PFAS in the soil following the leak. Honolulu Board of Water Supply Manager and Chief Engineer Ernie Lau said he had asked the Navy six months ago to test for PFAS in the water.

It’s still not clear what caused the AFFF spill, although the system at Red Hill has been an issue for years.

Cleanup is already underway, and 85% of about 3,000 cubic feet of soil targeted for removal at the site has already been excavated and placed in more than 100 55-gallon drums, the Navy said. Contaminated asphalt and concrete swale has also been removed and taken to a site at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

An evaluation is in progress to determine the means and methods to remediate AFFF from the concrete surface.

The AFFF system at Red Hill is offline, and on-site fire protection is being managed by JBPHH.

Defueling-related repairs, modifications and enhancements have been suspended to focus on the AFFF spill.

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