Department of Health conditionally approves Red Hill repairs, repacking plan

Posted on Aug 28, 2023 in Navy Water System Incident, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH) conditionally approved the Joint Task Force-Red Hill (JTF-RH) repacking plan on August 24. Repacking is the next step toward defueling about 104 million gallons of fuel from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

Conditional approval means that DOH’s approval required JTF-RH to address any issues identified during the facility walkthroughs that DOH staff conducted last week. After all these items were addressed, JTF-RH began repacking with oversight from DOH and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on August 28.

Repacking is the process of adding fuel back into the repaired Red Hill pipelines. This process is necessary to equalize pressure within the pipeline system and prevent pressure surges during defueling.
DOH also observed JTF-RH’s past spill response exercises to help ensure that staff are prepared to carry out effective response procedures.

“Repacking is a critical step toward defueling,” said Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho. “While we continue to work as quickly as possible in tandem with the EPA, our primary concern remains ensuring that defueling can be completed safely.”

DOH previously reviewed and conditionally approved quality validation reports for 253 repairs from the original list of 253 repairs to the Red Hill facility and pipelines. An additional 42 of 44 repairs and enhancements from the Incremental Repair list were also approved. The remaining 2 repairs are not required for repacking but will be completed before defueling.

DOH continues to review these items in phases as they are submitted in order to expedite progress safely. This approach also allows DOH to hold the Navy accountable for the start date for defueling the main tanks, which is now October 2023.

Click here to read DOH’s repacking plan conditional approval letter.
Click here for a flyer on the Defueling Process.