About Red Hill Fuel Releases
- 2021 Fuel Releases
- 2014 Fuel Release that led to the Red Hill Administrative Order on Consent
In late November 2021, a petroleum release from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility contaminated the Red Hill drinking water well. Hundreds of families, living on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) and the Army's Aliamanu Military Reservation and Red Hill Housing, reported petroleum odors coming from residential tap water supplied by the U.S. Navy water system. Residents reported health symptoms arising from the contaminated drinking water.
Approximately 93,000 U.S. Navy water system users were impacted by the contaminated drinking water, many of whom relocated to temporary housing during the drinking water crisis.
EPA coordinated with the Navy, Army and the Hawaii Department of Health in an Interagency Drinking Water System Team (IDWST) to restore safe drinking water to the affected residents and workers. The team launched in December 2021 and completed work to restore the drinking water system in March 2022.
The Navy is required to continue testing the impacted drinking water area for two years and continue work to cleanup the Red Hill drinking water well and impacted groundwater.
More information about the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam drinking water emergency response can be found at Drinking Water Emergency at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu, Hawaii (November 2021-March 2022).
On May 6, 2021, a pressure surge event occurred during routine fuel movement operations at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility The pressure surge event caused a pipeline joint failure that released over 19,000 gallons of JP-5 jet fuel onto the tunnel floor located between the underground storage tanks. The fuel ran down the tunnel floor into containment trenches and into a fire suppression system fluid sump. The sump pushed fuel down the tunnel in a fire suppression system fluid drain pipeline, where the fuel remained until the drain pipeline ruptured on November 20, 2021. This ruptured pipeline resulted in fuel spilling into the tunnel system near the Red Hill drinking water system shaft.
On November 29, 2021, Admiral Samuel Paparo, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, ordered a command investigation into the May 6, 2021 and November 20, 2021 Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility jet fuel release incidents that led to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam drinking water emergency. Access the report through the link below.
In January 2014, during the course of refilling Red Hill Storage Tank #5, following routine maintenance and repair work, the U.S. Navy identified an estimated fuel release of up to 27,000 gallons of JP-8 jet fuel from the tank and reported the release to the Hawaii Department of Health.
The Navy then drained the tank and collected samples from existing monitoring wells. Results taken in and around Tank 5 indicated a spike in levels of hydrocarbons in soil vapor and groundwater. Drinking water monitoring results confirmed compliance with federal and state safety standards for drinking water both before and after the January 2014 release.
Following the 2014 fuel release, EPA and DOH entered into the Red Hill Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) with the Navy and Defense Logistics Agency. Information about the AOC can be found at Red Hill Administrative Order on Consent.