Red Hill Update – NAVY Says Water Remains Safe to Drink

Last week, Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, sent another Red Hill “stakeholder letter” to business and community leaders and elected officials. Fuller shared the latest information about the fuel storage facility and how the Navy is keeping drinking water safe.

Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group, Middle Pacific, left of right, briefs members of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, Moanalua Valley Community Association and Pearl City Neighborhood Board No. 21 during a visit to one of the fuel tanks at the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility near Pearl Harbor. The group visited the modernized Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, where leaders and subject matter experts showed how the Navy maintains the facility as a national strategic asset. Red Hill provides fuel to operate overseas while ensuring drinking water in the area remains safe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laurie Dexter/Released)

Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group, Middle Pacific, left of right, briefs members of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, Moanalua Valley Community Association and Pearl City Neighborhood Board No. 21 during a visit to one of the fuel tanks at the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility near Pearl Harbor. The group visited the modernized Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, where leaders and subject matter experts showed how the Navy maintains the facility as a national strategic asset. Red Hill provides fuel to operate overseas while ensuring drinking water in the area remains safe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laurie Dexter/Released)

The letter is a means for keeping communication lines open, providing details about ongoing improvements, and thanking public officials and the community for support to the military and its mission in Hawaii.

Fuller’s letter opens with a note of appreciation.

“Before I discuss Red Hill, I feel honored to thank you for your heartfelt expressions of aloha and continued support to the families, friends and colleagues of the 12 Marines who recently lost their lives during night training off of Oahu.”

Regarding new information about advancements in and around Red Hill:

“I am pleased to report that on December 4, 2015, staff from the Navy, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), and Region IX of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded a week of face-to-face, in-depth meetings in accordance with the Administrative Order on Consent signed on September 28, 2015.”

Fuller noted, “These initial scoping meetings met our objectives.  The participants organized into groups to address specific sections of the statement of work within the order including:  tank inspection, repair and maintenance procedures report; tank upgrade alternatives report; corrosion and metal fatigue practices report; and the groundwater flow model and contaminant fate and transport report.  We are pleased with the outcome of these discussions.”

Regulatory agencies approved outlines for reports on fuel release monitoring systems and corrosion and metal fatigue practices.

The Navy is working closely with stakeholders. The team expects to complete the scoping work for tank inspection, repair, and maintenance procedures, and for tank upgrade alternatives, by the end of March.  Draft reports for release detection/tank tightness testing and corrosion and metal fatigue practices are due in April.

The Navy uses ten groundwater sampling locations now and plans to install four additional groundwater monitoring wells to “improve our ability to assess and predict the potential migration of subsurface fuel constituents.”

Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Lovgren, fuel director at Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Pearl Harbor, right, briefs members of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, Moanalua Valley Community Association and Pearl City Neighborhood Board No. 21 during a visit at Joint Base Pearl Harbor‐Hickam. The group visited the modernized Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, where subject matter experts showed how the Navy maintains the facility as a national strategic asset. Red Hill provides fuel to operate overseas while ensuring drinking water in the area remains safe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laurie Dexter/Released)

Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Lovgren, fuel director at Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Pearl Harbor, right, briefs members of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, Moanalua Valley Community Association and Pearl City Neighborhood Board No. 21 during a visit at Joint Base Pearl Harbor‐Hickam. The group visited the modernized Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, where subject matter experts showed how the Navy maintains the facility as a national strategic asset. Red Hill provides fuel to operate overseas while ensuring drinking water in the area remains safe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laurie Dexter/Released)

Fuller noted, “The Navy continues to monitor the quality of the drinking water sources closest to the Red Hill facility and share that data with EPA and DOH.  As I mentioned in my November 2015 letter, over the years, we intermittently detected trace amounts of fuel constituents adjacent to the Navy’s Red Hill drinking water shaft . at barely detectable levels.  The other important facts about our trace detections are that these levels are far below DOH Environmental Action Levels (EAL), and most importantly, these levels pose no risk to human health.”

He added, “Most recently, in July 2015, we detected trace amounts of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (a fuel constituent) at an estimated value of 17 parts per billion, well below the EAL of 100 parts per billion. Our EPA-certified lab had to estimate the amount because the detection level was too low to accurately quantify.”

The drinking water near Red Hill is safe and has been safe through 70 years of operation.

“The water was and continues to be safe to drink,” Fuller said.  “Moving from today and looking into the future, the Navy will continue to perform diligent and careful water quality analyses on our water.  We will continue to submit water test results to DOH, and will promptly inform DOH, EPA and the public if there is ever any risk to the safety of the drinking water.”

Fuller concluded his letter with another note of appreciation to the community:

“Thank you for your continued support to our military and our mission in Hawaii.  Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any concerns regarding Red Hill or our progress.  I encourage you to review the Navy’s website on Red Hill and suggest that you subscribe to EPA’s website.  You can find those sites at www.cnic.navy.mil/redhill and www.epa.gov/region9/waste/ust/redhill/index.html.”

Hu Honua Filing to PUC Addresses HELCO Misstatements

Hu Honua Bioenergy (HHB) filed its response with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to provide a project update as well as address incomplete and misleading information in Hawaii Electric Light Company’s (HELCO) Status Report.
Hu Honua

The Status Report was required by the PUC in light of missed milestone schedule dates in the HHB power purchase agreement (PPA) approved by the PUC in December 2013.

In its filing, Hu Honua expressed disappointment with HELCO over not processing its milestone date extension request submitted more than 12 months ago. HHB requested the extension following a variety of disputes with its former contractor that disrupted the project’s construction schedule, and to provide the replacement contractor sufficient time to complete the biomass-fueled, renewable energy facility in Pepeepeko on Hawaii Island.

At HELCO’s urging, Hu Honua submitted a proposal to reduce the energy price in its PPA to 14 cents for energy purchased above the 10-megawatt (MW) minimum level for economic dispatch. Even with the price reduction, HELCO did not process Hu Honua’s milestone date extension requests, despite the fact Hu Honua’s pricing is delinked from the cost of fossil fuel, making it a natural hedge against future increases in oil prices.

HHB has invested $100 million to date in the biomass-to-energy project, which is approximately 50 percent complete. HHB has arranged full financing from its investor base and the plant can be operational in approximately 12-16 months.

At completion, the plant will be able to supply Big Island residents with firm, baseload, dispatchable renewable power at reasonable pricing, complementing intermittent resources such as wind and solar, and helping the state meet mandated clean energy goals.

In its filing, HHB asserts the value of the plant today to Hawaii Island’s electricity system is as great or greater than December 2013 when the PUC approved the HHB PPA.

HELCO’s threat to terminate Hu Honua’s PPA as a result of missed milestones was announced just days before parts of Hawaii Island experienced blackouts due to insufficient firm generating capacity; firm, reliable power is what Hu Honua’s bioenergy plant would provide.

Hu Honua’s filing to the PUC addressed incomplete and misleading statements in HELCO’s Status Report, including:

“Hu Honua does not have the ability to achieve commercial operation in the near future.”

  • Hu Honua has fully committed financing up to $125 million to complete the project, with $20 million having been invested since November 2015.

“Hu Honua failed to meet PPA obligations.”

  • HELCO’s statement appears to refer to the boiler hydro test date. Unlike solar and wind projects, Hawaii law requires high pressure/high temperature steam boiler projects to follow rigorous inspection, approval and documentation protocol throughout construction before successive work can begin. As a result of disputes with its former contractor, HHB did not have ready access to prior documentation needed to perform successive work, which resulted in disruption and delays to schedule.

“Hu Honua failed to justify a milestones extension.”

  • As early as October 2014, HHB alerted HELCO that its milestone dates could be delayed because of certain factors beyond its control, including the circumstances underlying the dispute with its former contractor.

  • In January 2015, well in advance of project milestone dates, HHB approached HELCO to proactively discuss revised milestones dates in light of circumstances. Throughout discussions over revised milestones, HELCO reported a need for pricing reductions as an exchange for milestone date relief. HHB revised pricing arrangements on three separate occasions—February, April and May 2015.


Hu Honua looks forward to working with HELCO and the PUC to resolve its milestone date extension request, along with HHB’s proposal to reduce the energy price in its PPA to 14 cents for amounts purchased above the 10-MW minimum threshold for economic dispatch.

A completed Hu Honua power plant will provide a modern, renewable, biomass fueled source of electricity that will complement Hawaii Island’s electrical system as well as provide between 100-150 jobs for the local community.

Hawaii Department of Health Takes Critical Role in National Efforts to Control Zika Virus

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) State Laboratories Division is taking an active role in national efforts to control the spread of Zika Virus. Hawaii’s State Laboratories recently provided confirmatory testing for samples from American Samoa and the Marshall Islands to support these U. S. Affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions in verifying disease outbreak activity.

A mosquito laying eggs

A mosquito laying eggs

“Hawaii is fortunate to have an experienced and capable public health laboratory that can serve our state with timely and quality testing under emergency conditions,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “That same capability is not available in many other areas of the Pacific, and providing lab support to these areas, when we can, is critical to controlling the spread of diseases and reducing the risk of introduction to Hawaii.”

“With Zika emerging in U.S. island territories of American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, the nation is on alert,” said Dr. Thane Hancock, team leader for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) American Samoa Zika Response.

The timely response by the Hawaii Department of Health’s State Laboratories staff provided critical support for local disease investigations and for monitoring potentially exposed pregnant women.”

This month, DOH began using the CDC developed real-time reverse transcriptase (rRT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for Zika virus. With this recently developed capability, DOH provided officials in American Samoa and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Majuro), the first laboratory evidence of Zika transmission in these two U.S. affiliated jurisdictions.

“It’s always a balance to ensure our state needs are met first, but the staff here is more than willing to step up to support national efforts,” said State Laboratories Director Dr. Christian Whelen. “This work helps to better prepare us for potential issues that could arise in our state, and identifying and controlling outbreaks in the Pacific benefits all of us.”

While PCR is the best test during early onset of symptoms, testing for antibody to the viruses is preferred after about a week of illness. CDC is shipping antibody test materials to Hawaii so that the department’s State Laboratories Division can establish these capabilities over the next few weeks.

“The testing is very similar to the methodology our labs use for other RNA viruses such as Chikungunya, dengue, influenza, and measles,” added Whelen. “Our laboratory staff have been thoroughly trained to safely work with high risk specimens.”

DOH continues to work with the healthcare community, state, county, and federal officials to prepare for infectious diseases that threaten Hawaii and the Pacific. The State Laboratories Division administers a statewide laboratories program which conducts and regulates scientific analysis in support of environmental quality, health and safety, and infectious disease monitoring and control activities.

Updated Map Shows Risk Areas for Potential Dengue Infection

An updated map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases has been released:
Dengue Risk 22416Of the confirmed cases, 235 are Hawaii Island residents and 25 are visitors.
214 cases have been adults; 46 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/13/16.

As of today, a total of 1313 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 260

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 260:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 24, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 0 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
0
Cases no longer infectious
260 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 2/13/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
260

Of the confirmed cases, 235 are Hawaii Island residents and 25 are visitors.
214 cases have been adults; 46 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/13/16.

As of today, a total of 1313 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Three Big Island UPS Drivers Recognized for Accident-Free Driving

UPS today announced that three elite drivers from the Big Island of Hawaii, Glen Muraki (Kamuela), Brian Taketa (Kealakekua) and Myron Yamaguchi (Holualoa) are among 1,613 newly inducted worldwide into the Circle of Honor, an honorary organization for UPS drivers who have achieved 25 or more years of accident-free driving.

UPS Patch

Hawaii boasts 11 active Circle of Honor drivers with a combined 296 years of accident-free driving. Dean Agustin of Lihue and Malcolm Toyama of Honolulu are Hawaii’s senior-most safe drivers, with 31 years of accident-free driving. There are 177 total UPS drivers in Hawaii.

Globally, 8,703 active UPS drivers are members of the Circle of Honor.  Collectively they’ve racked up more than 245,000 years and more than 5.3 billion safe miles during their careers. That’s enough miles to travel to Mars and back 19 times.

“My thanks go to all of them for their dedication and focus and for the countless lives they’ve saved,” said Tom Cuce, president, UPS South California District. “Their attention to detail has kept them safe and has helped improve public safety.”

Globally, the most seasoned UPS Circle of Honor driver is Thomas Camp of Livonia, Mich., with 53 years of driving without an accident. Ronald McKnight of Bronx, N.Y., is next in line with 47 years of safe driving. Sixty-six others have logged at least 40 years without an accident.

UPS’s 102,000 drivers are among the safest on the roads, logging more than 3 billion miles a year and delivering more than 4 billion packages safely.

Founded in 1907, UPS has a rich history of safety and training.  The company issued its first driver handbook in 1917 and began recognizing safe drivers in 1923.  In 1928, UPS recognized its first five-year safe driver, Ray McCue, with UPS founder Jim Casey presenting him a gold and platinum watch. UPS formally established its safe driving honor program in 1928.