Department of Health conditionally approves defueling of Red Hill tanks, setting stage for defueling to begin

Posted on Oct 10, 2023 in Newsroom

HONOLULU – The Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) has conditionally approved the Joint Task Force-Red Hill (JTF-RH) plan to defuel the main tanks of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility beginning October 16, 2023.

DOH approval is contingent on JTF-RH adherence to the plan to remove fuel from the Red Hill underground storage tanks and other requirements set forth by DOH in its conditional approval letter. DOH staff will be on-site to oversee defueling.

“Today’s conditional approval marks an important milestone in the process that will ultimately result in permanent closure of the Red Hill Facility and remediation of our aquifer,” said Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho. “Many people have worked for many months to reach this milestone, and we appreciate and fully expect that the Joint Task Force will continue to uphold its commitments to the people of Hawai‘i and our environment.”

“We commend the leadership of the Department of Health in this ongoing crisis, and we want the public to know that my administration will continue to insist on transparency and accountability as the defueling of the bulk storage facility progresses,” said Governor Josh Green, M.D. “All of us in leadership positions — whether government, community organizations and, of course, the military — have to work together to ensure the water and the land at Red Hill and the aquifer under it, will be remediated properly and expeditiously. Clean water for future generations must be our shared goal,” the Governor said.

Leading up to this decision, DOH oversaw completion by JTF-RH, of 297 repairs and enhancements needed for repacking and defueling. DOH also observed various spill drill exercises and the successful defueling of the four surge tanks in July and repacking of the F-24 and JP-5 pipelines from August to September.

Click here to read the DOH conditional approval letter.

Click here to download a graphic illustrating the path to defueling.

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