Report: Navy’s Hawaii fuel tanks need repair before draining

HONOLULU (AP) — A contractor hired by the Navy is recommending a series of structural repairs to a massive fuel tank farm in Hawaii to make sure the facility doesn’t leak petroleum when its tanks are drained, a report released Friday said.

The recommendations for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility come after the complex’s pipes leaked fuel into Pearl Harbor’s tap water last year, sickening thousands of military families. The Pentagon has since agreed to comply with a state order to drain the tanks and permanently shut them down.

The highest priority repair identified in the report from the engineering company Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc. is designing piping to withstand a repeat of a May 2021 event that caused a pipe leak. The report indicated this work was already underway.

Corroded piping, damaged coating, damaged and reconfigured pipe supports and missing bracing will also need to be addressed, it said.

“This report describes extensive and critical repairs that are needed to safely defuel and decommission Red Hill,” Kathleen Ho, the state’s deputy director of environmental health, said in a statement.

The Navy has a June 30 deadline to inform the state Department of Health when and how it plans to drain the fuel.

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