Navy provides latest update on Red Hill

Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific (MIDPAC), issued his first Red Hill letter to stakeholders and updated the community this week about the Navy’s success in continually modernizing the fuel facility and keeping drinking water safe to drink.

Fort, who became regional commander Aug. 9, pledged continuity, noting the efforts of his predecessor, Rear Adm. John Fuller.

“Each of us is committed to improve public trust, ensure safe drinking water, prevent fuel leaks, and demonstrate the strategic importance of fuel to the fleet,” Fort said.

“As the Navy Region and MIDPAC Commander, I have a responsibility to ensure our Sailors are always ready to sail into harm’s way while also always being ready to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief across the entire Pacific. Maintaining a strategic and secure fuel reserve is absolutely essential for Hawaii, our nation and our Navy,” Fort said.

Since the January 2014 fuel release, the Navy has ensured operational fuel tanks do not leak by conducting inspections and monitoring tank levels, and increased groundwater monitoring wells from eight to 13 with an additional 11 planned. These monitoring wells show no contamination threat to drinking water. The Joint Base Red Hill drinking well is the closest drinking well to the fuel facility, with the closest Board of Water Supply (BWS) well nearly a mile away. BWS and Navy drinking samples continue to show the water is safe to drink.

Capt. Richard Hayes, commanding officer of NAVFAC Hawaii, speaks to Hawaii 1st District Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa during a visit to the Red Hill Fuel Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. U.S. Navy file photo by MC1 Jeff Troutman

“This is the same drinking water my family and I drink,” Fort said.

In his letter, Fort described his recent tour of the Red Hill Facility, explained how tanks are inspected and monitored, and discussed progress in meeting obligations under the Administrative Order on Consent (AOC).

“Those who know me well know that I never make promises I cannot keep. That’s not how you maintain public trust.

What I will promise, to earn and maintain your trust, is to keep the lines of communication open, listen to your questions and concerns, and share the latest information we have about our national strategic asset at Red Hill,” Fort said.

“I am pleased to report that after nearly four years, the tanks at Red Hill have not and are not leaking, and our drinking water continues to remain safe to drink.”

This was Navy Region Hawaii’s eighth stakeholder letter. Previous correspondence, press releases, photos and other information are available at www.cnic.navy.mil/redhill. The EPA also has a Red Hill information page, along with a posting of the AOC, at www.epa.gov/red-hill. The Navy also has an information video on YouTube to explain the AOC process at www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTj9VgcZTII. The animation video explains the AOC process and how it came about.

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Category: News