Shut Down Red Hill! Protect Hawaii's Families & Water! Decommission Red Hill Fuel Tanks!

Shut Down Red Hill! Protect Hawaii's Families & Water! Decommission Red Hill Fuel Tanks!

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Aina Momona started this petition to President of the United States and

In January 2014, the U.S. Navy reported a 27,000 gallon leak of jet fuel from Tank 5 at its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. The Navy owns twenty fuel tanks in the Red Hill area, each able to contain up to 12.5 million gallons of fuel. These tanks are located 100 feet above the groundwater aquifer. 100 feet is the height of the State Capitol. This aquifer is also the same one that the local board of water supply uses to provide water to residents in Honolulu, where hundreds of thousands of people reside.

Despite the Navy's claims that the drinking water was safe, military families began to experience severe medical illnesses after drinking, bathing, and cooking with water on their homes in December 2021. Many required medical treatment and/or hospital visits. Testing would show that the drinking water supply contained petroleum levels that were 350 times the level considered safe.

Approximately 3,000 military members and their families have been moved out of their homes and into hotels or other temporary housing, because the water in their homes in not safe. The drinking water for hundreds of thousands of O‘ahu residents now threatened. 

Immediate actions are necessary to protect the thousands of residents who rely on the water supplied by the Navy’s water distribution system and, ultimately, the nearly one million people on O‘ahu who rely on the sole-source aquifer that underlies Red Hill.

Based on the historic performance of the Navy’s operation of the Red Hill facility, the BWS has long called for the relocation of the Red Hill tanks away from O‘ahu’s irreplaceable drinking water resources and the Emergency Order is an important first step.

Going forward, it will be critical to monitor the actions taken in response to this order to ensure that the fuel at Red Hill is safely removed and that refueling the existing tanks is not allowed as it is irrefutable that the Red Hill facility cannot be operated in a way that is protective of human health and the environment as is required by state law.  Relocating the Red Hill tanks is the only way to protect the purity of our drinking water for present and future generations.

The Red Hill fuel tanks must be decommissioned (i.e., taken out of service) immediately. We recommend the Navy use the following procedures for an in situ decommissioning. 

  • Drain back all pipelines associated with the tank and remove all residual fuel.
  • The tanks must then be bottomed out, which involves the removal of that quantity of petrol and deposits which remain below the pump suction pipeline, using a hand pump or a flame-proof electrical pump. This procedure must be performed by a specialist contractor.
  • The atmosphere in the tank must inerted by means of nitrogen, nitrogen foam or carbon dioxide.
  • Disconnect all pipework entering the tank via the tank lid. Flush through and cap at each end all pipelines previously connected to the tank or compartment.
  • Properly remove the tank lid. Should the tanks be without tank lids, the suction pipe should be unscrewed leaving a hole approximately 75mm through which slurry of a thin consistency can be poured.
    The area surrounding the tank as far as boundaries permit should be classed as a hazardous area while filling the tank is taking place and all necessary precautions should be taken to prevent any source of ignition.
  • All the the tanks should be filled to the extent possible with 20 to 1 mix of concrete slurry. Wherever possible the slurry should be assisted to the extremities of the tanks by means of a vibrating device. 

Our families and water supply must be the United States' highest priority. These tanks, first built in 1941, have far outlived their purpose and are no longer a necessity for mission-readiness. They need to be decommissioned immediately for the safety and well-being of military families and Hawai‘i residents.

DECOMMISSION THE TANKS! Protect our families and our water supply! 

To learn more, visit the Official Honolulu Board of Water Supply website: https://www.boardofwatersupply.com/news-updates/redhill 

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