Red Hill Reso at Full City Council – 3/8

Last Wednesday, a committee of the Honolulu City Council passed a resolution urging the EPA and Hawaiʻi Dept. of Health to reject the Navy’s proposal to maintain the status quo at Red Hill.  They were clear: either the Navy upgrades the tanks to secondary containment or moves the fuel away from our aquifer. This is BIG.

Our ask of you now is to show the City Council you stand with them and us and the Board of Water Supply in supporting Resolution 18-266. Show them there is political consensus here to protect Oʻahu’s water.  The resolution will be before the full City Council on March 8th


In addition to supporting double-walled tanks or relocation away from the aquifer, this resolution also asks the EPA and DOH to reject the Navy’s findings in their Groundwater Protection and Evaluation Considerations Report where the Navy assumes massive leaks would be no big deal for our water supply. The Navy says that: 

  • A chronic release of 2,300 gallons per year per tank would biodegrade before reaching the groundwater
  • A sudden release of 120,000 gallons of fuel would likely be held in the underground rocks or in the aquifer without causing petroleum levels in the water supply to exceed safe drinking levels, and
  • A release as large as 700,000 gallons would not impact the quality of the water at the U.S. Navy’s Red Hill Shaft or any of Board of Water Supply’s drinking water pumping stations.

This is shocking especially since the recently released corrosion data shows that some areas of the tank sampled are extremely thin. The Navy does not seem concerned about the possibility of fuel spoiling Oʻahu’s primary aquifer OR that the tank walls are corroding faster than anyone expected. 

NO amount of fuel in our drinking water aquifer is okay. The Red Hill tanks may have served their purpose but it’s time to retire them—they are too far gone to be saved. Passing this resolution demonstrates Oʻahu has the political will to protect our water from these fragile tanks.

Sample testimony:

Meeting date: 3/8/2019
Council/PH Committee: Council/public hearing
Agenda Item: Resolution 18-266 CD1
Position: Support

Aloha Chair Kobayashi, Vice Chair Menor, and Councilmembers, 

As a resident of Oʻahu and a water drinker, I strongly support resolution 18-266 CD1 urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawaiʻi Department of Health to reject the approval of a single wall tank upgrade alternative option and to reject the conclusions presented in the Groundwater Protection and Evaluation Considerations for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

Water is life. The Red Hill fuel tanks are the greatest risk to the security of Oʻahu’s drinking water and therefore the health of Hawaiʻi’s people and its environment. Just 100 feet above our primary aquifer sits as much as 225 million gallons of fuel in 75 year old tanks. These tanks should have never been built here and they were not built to last forever. Today, the tanks are too fragile to be considered safe. According to the Navy’s own data, the tanks’ steel liners are corroding faster than the Navy expected and are as thin as half of the original steel plates. 

The Red Hill facility has a long history of leaking fuel into the surrounding environment and no amount of fuel in our groundwater supply is acceptable. The facility should be immediately upgraded with state-of-the-art secondary containment technology to ensure the tanks never leak again. If they cannot be upgraded to guarantee against leaks, the tanks should be retired and the fuel relocated away from our water resources.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify and for taking up this important measure at the council. 

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