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U.S. Navy signs EPA and state of Hawaii consent order

10/01/15 12:00 AM

Hawaii’s drinking water resources and nation protected

By Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Public Affairs

The U.S. Navy and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) came to agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and signed the Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) for the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility this week.

 The Navy and DLA first signed the AOC in May; however following the public comment period, EPA and DOH made a number of amendments to which the Navy and DLA agreed. 

“On behalf of Commander Navy Region Hawaii and the Defense Logistics Agency, I’d like to express our commitment to environmental stewardship and our non-negotiable priority to keeping our drinking water safe.

After many months of negotiations, we are pleased to have an agreed process in place that both protects Hawaii’s drinking water and allows us to plan for the future of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility,” said Capt. Ken Epps, commanding officer for the Naval Supply Fleet Logistics Center Pearl Harbor. 

“A facility of this magnitude and strategic importance to the United States presented a unique situation and required a unique approach of our regulators. Together we will continue to protect Hawaii’s drinking water resources for generations to come and provide for the nation’s defense at the same time,” Epps said.

The AOC signing parties will host meetings at least annually to update the public on the progress of the various actions required under the order. 

The signing of the AOC puts into motion specific required actions. These actions will enhance the protection of Oahu’s drinking water resources by continuously upgrading the facility with the best available practicable technology. It will also enhance understanding of the hydrogeology of the area surrounding the facility.

Within the next 30 days, scoping meetings will be held with the regulators to identify current alternatives and requirements of specific deliverables in each of the following areas and implementing approved modifications:

  • Tank inspection, repair and maintenance procedures
  • Tank upgrades
  • Release detection/tank tightness testing procedures.
  • Corrosion and metal fatigue control practices
  • Investigation and remediation of releases
  • Refine the existing groundwater flow model.
  • Develop a contaminant fate and transport model report.
  • Assess and, if necessary, begin installation of additional monitoring wells.
  • Prepare a report assessing the level of risk the facility may pose to groundwater and drinking water aquifers.


While the consent order begins this week, the Navy has pursued significant upgrades to the Red Hill Facility since 2006.

“To date, the Navy and DLA have already invested $145 million in facility modernization and for environmental testing,” said Epps.

“We plan to invest an additional $70 million in Red Hill over the next five years to further enhance the integrity of the tanks and operational efficiency of the facility. These numbers do not include any additional work required through the Administrative Order on Consent,” he said.

Throughout the AOC negotiation and public comment process, the Navy has continued to move forward, identifying the best options available to modernize Red Hill and protect human health and the environment. 

For example:
• The Navy awarded a contracted study in May 2015 to determine best available practicable technology for tank upgrades, improved release detection system options, and tank tightness testing alternatives. The final report is due February 2016. This study will be used in conjunction with additional studies required under the AOC to determine the best way forward for Red Hill Tanks.
• A contract in the amount of $43 million was awarded on Aug. 25 to Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Honolulu. The contract includes upgrading the fire suppression and ventilation systems, repairing existing and providing additional oil-tight doors along the tunnel, and providing new emergency voice and fire alarm system throughout the tunnel complex. This work is expected to be completed by September 2017.

The Red Hill facility is a national strategic asset that provides secure fuel storage for ships and aircraft of U.S. Pacific Fleet and other military branches. “While the facility’s value to our nation remains vital as America rebalances its forces to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, the Navy considers the availability of safe drinking water on Oahu to be a non-negotiable requirement,” said Capt. Dean Tufts, regional engineer for Navy Region Hawaii.

For more information, visit CNIC Navy Region Hawaii's Red Hill webpage.