The Department of the Navy (DON) today submitted the Red Hill Tank Closure Plan to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), taking the next step in Navy’s continued commitment to safely and expeditiously close the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (Red Hill) in Hawaii.

The plan outlines the steps Navy intends to take to permanently close all 20 underground storage tanks, four surge tanks, and the associated piping system at Red Hill. The Navy’s proposed way forward, known as “Closure in Place,” will eliminate the tanks from service and leave them in the ground, which minimizes environmental and public health impacts, safety concerns, and schedule. This way forward also allows for the potential repurposing of the tanks for beneficial, non-fuel reuse.

“The Navy’s submission of the Red Hill Tank Closure Plan is an important step forward towards the permanent closure of the tanks and piping infrastructure at Red Hill,” said Meredith Berger, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations, and Environment). “As we complete this work, we will prioritize safety while finding every opportunity to work with speed, and we will continue to collaborate and coordinate with Department of Health and other stakeholders.”

In accordance with DOH’s May 6, 2022 Emergency Order, a team of Navy experts conducted a thorough analysis of several factors – from environmental and public health impacts, to safety and schedule. The Red Hill Tank Closure Plan includes details on the actions the Navy will take to clean the tanks and pipelines as well as a summary analysis of alternatives for permanent tank closure. In December 2022, the Navy will formally propose the “closure in place” alternative to DOH when Navy delivers a comprehensive report prepared by an independent third-party contractor with a detailed assessment of the alternatives for permanent closure, including an evaluation of engineering feasibility, pros and cons, cost estimates, and schedules.

Following DOH approval, the Navy will commence tank closure as early as possible once the Joint Task Force Red Hill completes defueling. The estimate for completing closure-in-place is three years. If the DOH also supports the non-fuel beneficial reuse, Navy will seek input from the community and coordinate with DOH to determine a feasible non-fuel reuse plan for the Red Hill facility.

“Safety remains our focus throughout this process, and our priority is to protect the environment,” said Rear Adm. Steve Barnett, commander, Navy Region Hawaii. “Collaboration with regulators and other stakeholders has contributed to the important work done so far, and that cooperation will continue.”