The Navy completed routine tank tightness testing for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility Feb. 2. The Navy began its latest tank testing in November 2016. All operating tanks continue to pass leak detection criteria of Title 40 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.*
A tank tightness test is a procedure that determines if an underground storage tank leaks. Operators precisely fill the tank and measure pressure to ensure the tank is not leaking.
Planned to be a biennial test, the Navy increased tank tightness testing frequency to annually in 2015. The Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) and Statement of Work (SOW), as regulated by the EPA and the State of Hawaii Department of Health, incorporated this test.
In his most recent letter to stakeholders, Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander, Navy Region Hawaii, said, “To address fuel tank integrity, the Navy employs a continuing process that monitors the tanks with testing and inspections and sustains them with planned preventative as well as corrective maintenance, as needed. We take to heart and apply the lessons learned and process improvements we developed after the fuel release from Tank 5 in 2014.”
The release that occurred in January 2014 was from Tank 5, which had undergone regularly scheduled maintenance. No other tanks were involved in the 2014 fuel release. The Navy took appropriate action to fix the contracting issues of poor workmanship, lack of quality control and procedural failures.
Since then, the Navy modified its quality assurance practices and policies, increased testing frequency and capabilities, and improved facility operating procedures to help prevent fuel releases from happening again in the future.
“While we have a world class system today, the Navy will continue to improve monitoring systems under AOC section 4,” Fuller said.
In an earlier letter to stakeholders, Fuller said, “I assure you that we are applying – and will continue to actively apply – what we learned to improve our processes and that we will only return Tank 5 to service after certifying it is safe.”
Since 2006, the Department of Defense invested more than $200 million to continue modernizing Red Hill and to conduct environmental testing. The Red Hill facility is of vital strategic importance to our nation since its construction. It is vital today and will remain vital for the foreseeable future.
More information can be found on the Navy’s website on Red Hill at www.cnic.navy.mil/redhill. Information is also available on the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/region9/waste/ust/redhill/index.html.
(*Title 40: Protection of Environment is the section of the CFR that deals with the Environmental Protection Agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.)