HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – There are new concerns about the Navy’s plan to release millions of gallons of treated water from its contaminated Red Hill fuel facility. into Halawa Stream.
The Navy told lawmakers Thursday and then the state’s Commission on Water Resource Management Friday about its plan to filter millions of gallons of water from the Red Hill shaft each day.
The treated water would then be released into the stream.
During Thursday’s tour of the Red Hill shaft, U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele and other lawmakers saw a construction zone with eight granular activated carbon filters and the Navy’s plan to “remediate the Red Hill well to protect the aquifer.”
The Navy is building the industrial filtering system and massive pipes to flush up to five million gallons of water per day, which it hopes to release into Halawa stream.
“After pulling water from deeper in the well below any contamination that may be floating in the surface, run it through the GACS … to discharge to Halawa Stream and we are working through a plan through Department of Health and Water Commission staff as well to be protective of the stream,” said Travis Hilton, of Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific.
The Navy says it’s working to get approval from the state Department of Health.
Kahele told Hawaii News Now he has concerns about wasting all that water.
“How much fuel we are going to extract from pumping millions and millions gallons out of the Red Hill well and essentially dumping it into Halawa stream,” Kahele said.
“It seems like a total waste of a natural resource.”
Many Hawaii organizations support permanently shutting down and draining the fuel from the Red Hill tanks. At multiple public hearings, the Navy has stuck to the same response.
“You are under an order now from Department of Health and the state of Hawaii to decommission the facility. Have you commenced your contingency planning” asked Neil Hannahs, a member of the Commission of Water Resource Management, at Friday’s meeting.
“Yes. Navy and Department of Defense has been looking at contingency plans involved,” said Capt. James “Gordy” Meyer, commanding officer of NAVFAC Hawaii.
In its assessment, the Army has been more blunt by explaining to families at Aliamanu Military Reservation they may not move back home until mid February. After flushing the system, water tests showed fuel contamination exceeded the allowed 200 parts per billion.
“We know something was bad, but we don’t know the specifics,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph Ryan.
“But we know the process we gotta go through after we get a bad test is to reflush,” he added.
The flushing process is part of a multi-agency effort.
The state Department of Health says there’s no timeline for when treated water might be released into Halawa Stream because it’s still working with the Navy on the permitting process.
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