Navy plans to defuel Red Hill by July 2024, many want it done sooner

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Navy plans to defuel the Red Hill storage facility by July 2024, according to their revised plan released Wednesday afternoon. Their last plan, released on June 30th, was panned by officials who called it unacceptable and lacking substance.

The Department of Defense’s latest plan to defuel the Red Hill storage facility moves the completion date up six months to summer 2024. They said the new timeline shows their commitment to remedy the situation quickly and safely.

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In a statement Rear Adm. Steve Barnett, commander, Navy Region Hawaii, said:

“This plan represents considerable work by our DoD and Navy team along with the regulators and we remain completely focused on the safe and expeditious defueling of the facility. As we move forward, we will continually refine and improve this plan and keep stakeholders and the community informed throughout the process. Every action we take must protect the environment and the community.”

The DoD said its team reached the shorter timeline by determining certain activities could be done at the same time.

Kathleen Ho, Hawaii Department of Health Deputy Director of Environmental Health said they want it done sooner.

“We are focused on ensuring that defueling takes place as quickly and safely as possible,” said Ho. “There is a continued threat to our aquifer and residents every day that fuel remains in the Red Hill tanks. As we review this submission, it is our full expectati