DOH News Release: STATE APPROVES INSTALLATION OF EIGHT NEW RED HILL MONITORING WELLS

Posted on Apr 8, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

(HONOLULU) – The Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) approved the U.S. Navy’s application to install eight new 2-inch groundwater monitoring wells as part of the ongoing response to identify possible migration of fuel in the area beyond the Red Hill lower tunnel at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

As part of the State Water Code, CWRM is responsible for permitting groundwater monitoring wells. The well locations were positioned in consultation with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are shown below.

“These wells will add to our existing knowledge of the hydrogeology of the area and provide for long term monitoring of our water resources,” said Deputy Director of CWRM Kaleo Manuel. “These wells meet CWRM’s construction standards and are designed to protect the environment and water resources.”

“Due to the Navy’s contamination of our water resource, it is critical that we learn more about the aquifer,” said Deputy Director for Environmental Health Kathleen Ho. “These new monitoring wells will provide insight into the extent of the recent spill beyond the lower tunnel and provide data that will help our experts track possible contamination.”

In discussion with stakeholders, including CWRM, DOH, EPA, Navy, Honolulu Board of Water Supply, and U.S. Geological Survey, through the Aquifer Recovery Focus Group, eight additional priority monitoring well locations have also been identified and the Regulatory Agencies are supporting the Navy’s effort to work with landowners to site new sentinel monitoring wells between the Red Hill facility and nearby public water supplies. These wells will also need to be permitted by CWRM and are shown circled in red below.

Red Hill Monitoring Well 17 was previously approved for installation and is being installed near Adit 6, north of the eastern end of the facility, on Navy property. In the course of drilling the well, the Navy reported to DOH and CWRM evidence of contamination in soil and pockets of water held above the main aquifer by dense rock or soil. Work was suspended to assess conditions and seek regulatory direction before proceeding. Detections in these samples were below Environmental Action Levels and did not indicate that fuel contamination was migrating.

Monitoring Well 17 is located near a former oily waste disposal tank and related pipeline. CWRM and DOH reviewed Navy plans to install a solid sleeve or pipe within the well to protect the water resource, prevent migration of contamination, and install required additional water sampling ports to allow ongoing sampling. The Navy has agreed to further characterize the fuel release at this location under DOH oversight.

Groundwater monitoring wells serve as a detection system to monitor for evidence of fuel contaminants in the groundwater in specific locations in the aquifer under and around the Red Hill facility. Samples and field measurements are collected regularly in the monitoring wells and measure water quality parameters, including the groundwater level.

The Navy is required to test samples collected from the monitoring wells for several contaminants, including petroleum compounds, to assess for new releases and plume migration from other areas of the facility.

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Media Contacts: 

Dan Dennison

DLNR Senior Communications Manager

[email protected]

(808) 587-0396

Katie Arita-Chang

DOH Communications Office

[email protected]

(808) 286-4806