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Secretary of the Navy Pauses Operations to Address Water Issues at Red Hill

08 December 2021
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro directed the pause of all operations at the Red Hill Underground Storage Tanks until the completion of the ongoing Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet led investigation into the source of petroleum products affecting the water system.

“The safety, health and well-being of our service members, civilians, contractors, their families and our communities here in Oahu is of the utmost importance to me,” Del Toro said. “This is not acceptable and the Department of the Navy will take every action to identify and remedy this issue. We will continue to coordinate with federal, state and local entities to restore safe drinking water to the community.”

The order also includes the continued isolation of the Red Hill and Halawa wells operated by the Navy until the water distribution main and all affected homes and buildings have been flushed or isolated, tested, and can be supplied with water that meets EPA drinking water standards.

The Navy will also evaluate the acquisition of a drinking water treatment system and consult a qualified independent third party to assess operations and system integrity of the Red Hill Underground Storage Tank Facility. The third party will identify possible operational and design deficiencies and develop a recommended work plan and schedule to correct those issues.

Additionally, the Department will continue to work with Federal, State, Local governments, and Native Hawaiian organizations to exchange views and information as we continue to respond to issues involving Red Hill.

“Our people will always be our first priority. Their safety is paramount,” Secretary Del Toro said. “We are aiming for a new normal: One where this never happens again. The Department is determined and committed to making the necessary changes. We can and will take care of our people, while also preserving and protecting our national security interests in the Pacific and at home.”

If you are affected, please call the INFOCELL at the Emergency Operations Center at (808) 448-2570 and (808) 448-3262, (808) 448-2557, (808) 448-2583, and (808) 449-1979.

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