Lawmakers may call for a briefing on military fuel leak

KITV - February 10, 2014
Catherine Cruz

It was a stain on a concrete wall that led the military to a problem with its underground storage fuel tanks at Red Hill.

Lawmakers are starting to ask questions with the recent disclosure that the Navy failed to report that for the first time low levels of lead were discovered in one of its Pearl Harbor wells.

"We want to make sure the drinking water is safe and more importantly that there is communication between the state and the federal government and our communities here so that everybody knows what’s going on," said Rep. Chris Lee, head of the house energy and environment committee.

The formerly top secret navy installation has had problems with leaks before.

Military documents filed with the state show a history of unexplained fuel drops--twice in 1949, 11,00 gallons one time 18,000 another.

In 1972 there was another unexplained fuel drop of 31,000.

The reports show that between 1975-1978, there was another drop of close to 33,000 gallons.

In 1980 there was another fuel loss of between 10,000 and 20,000 gallons.

But some of the leaks were in a space between the steel-lined tanks which are enclosed in a wall of concrete a tell-tale system that is no longer used.

Because of this most recent leak of an estimated 27,000 gallons, state and county officials are trying to decipher the sketchy records dating back 70 years.

Lawmakers want some assurance that our water resources are being protected.

"All the more reason why we need to sit down with the Navy and the health department, because we as the public have a right to know," said Sen. Mike Gabbard.

Lawmakers hope to hold a joint House and Senate meeting to learn more.

"We are trying to coordinate our schedules so we can have a public briefing on this," said Gabbard.

One way the military detects leaks is to take boring samples from the rock surrounding the tanks.

The Navy said it continuously improves its monitoring detection and response systems with new technology whenever possible

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