Military aims for October to begin draining Hawaii fuel tanks that poisoned water

May 16, 2023, 9:37 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. military on Tuesday proposed an October start date for a plan to drain a World War II-era fuel tank facility that poisoned 6,000 people when it leaked jet fuel into Pearl Harbor’s drinking water 18 months ago.

Fuel from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility leaked into a U.S. Navy drinking water well supplying water to 93,000 people in 2021. The episode poisoned about 6,000 people — mostly military personnel and their families — on and around the Hawaii naval base. It also prompted Honolulu’s water utility to shut down nearby wells that provided about 20% of the city’s water supply.

After the spill, the state of Hawaii ordered the military to drain and close the tanks. Last year, the military said it expected to remove fuel from Red Hill in July 2024 after it finished repairs to prevent leaks.

The military said it a news release that it would begin removing 104 million gallons (394 million liters) of fuel from the facility on Oct. 16 and finish by Jan. 19.

But that won’t remove all the fuel. The military said it’s likely that 100,000 to 400,000 gallons (378,500 to 1.5 million liters) would remain. It said it will propose additional plans to remove the final gallons.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawaii Department of Health must sign off on the military’s new plan.

Kathleen Ho, Hawaii’s deputy director of environmental health, said she was encouraged by the new proposal.

“We will carefully review this submission to ensure that the updated timeline and plan can be executed safely without any further risk to the environment,” Ho said in a statement.

The tanks can hold 250 million gallons (1.1 billion liters) of fuel but are at less than half capacity now. Thirteen of the 20 tanks have fuel in them.

A Navy investigation found a cascading series of mistakes, complacency and a lack of professionalism over the course of six months led to the 2021 fuel spill. It has yet to announce disciplinary action in response to the spill.

United States News

Associated Press

Trump and DeSantis will hold dueling campaign events in Iowa with the caucuses just six weeks away

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Ron DeSantis plans on Saturday to complete his campaign promise to visit each of Iowa’s 99 counties, a timeworn tactic for presidential candidates hoping to make their mark in the leadoff state over months mingling with voters at the state’s diners, cookouts and Pizza Ranches. But the Florida governor’s moment, […]

24 minutes ago

FILE - Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is shown before administering the oath of office t...

Associated Press

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor paved a path for women on the Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — One fall day in 2010, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor slipped into the courtroom where she worked for nearly 25 years to take in an “amazing” sight. The first — and for 12 years, the only — woman on the high court saw three women in black robes among the […]

43 minutes ago

Associated Press

US Navy plans to raise jet plane off Hawaii coral reef using inflatable cylinders

HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Navy plans to use inflatable cylinders to lift and roll a jet plane off a coral reef in Hawaii before removal from the ocean waters where the aircraft crashed on Nov. 20. Rear Adm. Kevin Lenox, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 3 who is leading the salvage effort, said […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Las Vegas police search for suspect after 5 homeless people are shot, killing 2

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Five homeless people were shot in Las Vegas on Friday, two of them fatally, and police were searching for a lone suspect, authorities said. The shooting occurred around 5:30 p.m. near a freeway overpass in the northeastern part of the city, according to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Mark Lourenco. […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge rejects calls to halt winter construction work on Willow oil project in Alaska during appeal

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal judge in Alaska on Friday rejected requests from environmental groups to halt winter construction work for the massive Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope while the groups’ legal fight over the drilling project wages on. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason just last month upheld the Biden administration’s […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. Frank Rocco Giustino, who skippe...

Associated Press

Lawsuits against Trump over Jan. 6 riot can move forward, appeals court rules

Lawsuits against Donald Trump over the U.S. Capitol riot can move forward, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Military aims for October to begin draining Hawaii fuel tanks that poisoned water