By Navy Region Public Affairs
The Navy invited members of the board of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, their consultants and other local stakeholders to visit the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage facility Sept. 15.
Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, will welcome the visitors for a tour and discussion to show how the Navy is keeping the drinking water safe while preserving energy security.
“Our non-negotiable priority is keeping the drinking water safe,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller. “Our Navy is fully committed to environmental stewardship and safe drinking water,” he added.
“The Red Hill fuel facility is a national strategic asset that provides the fuel necessary to defend our nation, safeguard our national interests and support humanitarian missions overseas.”
Over the summer, Fuller and other Navy Leaders have provided familiarization visits to dozens of elected officials, regulators and other stakeholders. Among the senior elected officials who toured the facility and received briefings since July are Senator Mazie Hirono, Senator Brian Schatz, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Representative Mark Takai and Governor David Ige.
The Navy tests groundwater at several locations, conducts routine drinking supply compliance sampling and submits test results to regulatory agencies for review and evaluation. The Navy continues to modernize, upgrade and improve the facility.
“The January 2014 leak in Tank 5 was the result of faulty work by our contractor, our lack of quality assurance oversight and operator error. Since then we are holding our contractors accountable. We have improved our oversight process. And we have updated operating procedures through increased training, new safeguards, processes and alarm protocols,” Fuller said.
Military families living near Red Hill drink from the same aquifers as their civilian neighbors. Public records confirm that the drinking water is safe both on and off base.
“Since the 2014 fuel loss, we’ve instituted rigorous new safeguards to prevent a future fuel loss, and we will continue to keep the public informed about upgrades at Red Hill,” Fuller added.
“The Navy has a long-term commitment to Hawaii. We can do both: provide a strong national defense and keep the drinking water safe now and in the future,” Fuller said. “If fuel from Red Hill were ever found to be contaminating drinking water, we would work with EPA to provide the appropriate remedy to provide safe drinking water for everyone. We will not walk away from our responsibilities, no matter what.”
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