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Navy Closure Task Force-Red Hill Operational Update: June 2024

by NCTF-RH Public Affairs
12 June 2024

Navy Closure Task Force-Red Hill Operational Update
June 2024


JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – The safe and deliberate closure of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF) is underway after another month of forward movement for Navy Closure Task Force-Red Hill (NCTF-RH), including tank ventilation which is the start of tank cleaning. The team started a critical first step in the tank cleaning phase by beginning the venting of two underground storage tanks at the RHBFSF; continued coring for groundwater monitoring wells; and conducted several engagements with local leaders, including a meeting with Hawaii Gov. Josh Green. Last month, NCTF-RH also hosted its first open house, where about 40 members of the public met with NCTF-RH staff and leaders to learn more about the closure process.

Open House: On May 15, 2024, NCTF-RH hosted an open house at the Oahu Veterans Center as an opportunity for the public to meet the staff and ask questions about the closure of RHBFSF. The event featured a range of stations that laid out specific information about the command and tank cleaning process, including ventilation, air quality monitoring, sludge removal, protecting the environment and personnel, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) drinking water information. Guests were also able to view a video tour of the inside of the Red Hill facility.

Community Representation Initiative (CRI): The Navy continues to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and the elected CRI members on a way forward. Although the Navy will not be attending the CRI meeting on June 20, 2024, we are committed to a diverse program of engagements with the community.

Tank Ventilation and Air Quality Monitoring (AQM): After extensive coordination with state and federal regulators, NCTF-RH began venting Tanks 8 and 7 at the RHBFSF. Task force staff installed nine AQM stations along the RHBFSF perimeter, including at the Halawa Correctional Facility, to monitor venting operations. The stations track changes in air quality, measure potential volatile organic compound (VOC) levels, and collect atmospheric data (i.e. air speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure). So far, VOC levels have remained below regulatory limits. For questions or concerns, the public can contact the Navy Call Center at 808-210-6968. During venting operations, AQM data will continue to be updated hourly on the NCTF-RH mobile app and daily on the NCTF-RH website.

Groundwater Monitoring Well Installations: NCTF-RH is currently installing three groundwater monitoring wells. These projects are part of an initial emergency response plan that has been ongoing since December 2021. These wells allow the remediation team to better understand where contamination might have occurred following the November 2021 fuel spill. The groundwater monitoring wells enable the Navy to plan for and implement broader efforts that support the Navy’s priority to remediate and preserve the environment.

Governor’s Water Committee: NCTF-RH leadership presented information to the Governor’s Water Committee during a virtual meeting May 23, 2024. In addition to NCTF-RH leadership, participants also included Hawaii Gov. Josh Green and other senior state and local officials from the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS) and Hawaii Department of Health. The NCTF-RH team briefed the governor and committee members on the status of the closure, remediation, and community outreach surrounding the RHBFSF and received feedback on how to engage meaningfully with the community moving forward.

Continued Drinking Water Testing: As part of the Extended Drinking Water Monitoring program, which replaced Drinking Water Long-Term Monitoring in April, NCTF-RH continued water testing at homes, schools and other locations on the JBPHH drinking water system and delivered water to those who requested it. NCTF-RH continues to encourage anyone with drinking water concerns to contact the Navy Water Quality Action Team on the 24-hour helpline at 808-210-6968. Residents with medical concerns should immediately contact their Primary Care Manager.

“The team hasn’t let up and keeps working hard to stay on plan for closure,” said Rear Adm. Marc Williams, deputy commander, NCTF-RH. “We’ve begun a key step in the tank cleaning process and anticipate finishing the venting of Tanks 7 and 8 soon. This allows us to set the conditions to safely get inside and start the process of removing sludge and power washing the inside of the tanks. We also look forward to continuing to engage with the community as we plan and keep the ball rolling on this effort to not just close the facility but find ways to be better caretakers of the environment.”

NCTF-RH is committed to working with all government agencies and community stakeholders to safely and deliberately close the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility underground storage tanks and associated piping system, conduct long-term environmental remediation, and ensure continued access to safe drinking water in compliance with all Federal, State, and local laws, policies and regulations.

For more information about NCTF-RH, visit https://www.navyclosuretaskforce.navy.mil/ or download our free mobile app by searching for “NCTF-Red Hill” in the Apple App store or Google Play store. For imagery, video and other digital media please visit our DVIDS site here: https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/NCTF-RH.