Joint Task Force-Red Hill to share AFFF release video with Department of Health, Environmental Protection Agency
by Capt. Kitsana Dounglomchan, Joint Task Force Red Hill, 12.05.2022
HONOLULU –Joint Task Force - Red Hill will share with the Hawaii Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency surveillance camera footage of the Nov. 29 AFFF release at Adit 6 of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF).
The video will be shared to facilitate the DOH and EPA’s investigative and regulatory functions.
The video is considered evidence and will be part of the Department of Defense’s own investigation. On Dec. 2, the Joint Task Force announced that Maj. Gen. Richard J. Heitkamp, the Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, had been appointed as the investigating officer into the incident.
The video and other evidence will not be released publicly at this time as doing so may impact the integrity of the investigation. The video will be made available when it is determined that doing so will no longer affect the investigation.
Joint Task Force - Red Hill was established by the Secretary of Defense to ensure the safe and expeditious defueling of the RHBFSF. Importantly, Joint Task Force – Red Hill is also committed to consistent engagement with local stakeholders to rebuild trust with the people of Hawaii.
For more information about JTF-Red Hill, or to provide public comment via our contact form, please visit https://www.pacom.mil/JTF-Red-Hill/.
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Navy Cleaning Up, Investigating Fire Suppressant Spill at Red Hill
by Heather Mongilio, USNI News, December 5, 2022 6:06 PM
Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Pearl Harbor employees uses tools to relocate contaminated soil onto a wheelbarrow as part of NAVFAC Public Works Department and Joint Task Force-Red Hill’s (JTF-RH) hazard material spill recovery operation at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF) in Halawa, Hawaii, Dec. 1, 2022. US Army Photo
The Navy appointed an Army two-star general to oversee the investigation into another spill at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, which comes nearly a year after a fuel spill contaminated the water supply and forced the eventual closure of the space.
This time the sea service is cleaning up Aqueous Film Forming Foam, a fire suppressant, the Hawaii Department of Health announced on Nov. 29. The Joint Task Force – Red Hill, which oversees the defueling process, appointed Maj. Gen. Richard Heitkamp, with the U.S. Army Reserve, to lead the investigation into the AFFF leak, the task force announced on Dec. 2.
AFFF can contain polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are colloquially known as forever chemicals due to their long-lasting effects. PFAS have been linked to health effects such as cancers, immune system effectiveness and developmental delays, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Approximately 1,100 gallons of the fire suppressant leaked on Nov. 29, according to a news release from the Hawaii Department of Health. As of Dec. 2, the most recent news release from the health department, there is no effect on the drinking water. Measures are in place to protect surface water in the case of rain.
The Navy’s water supply is unaffected, according to a Dec. 1 Navy release. The Navy’s water comes from the Waiawa shaft, which is approximately 6 miles away from the affected area.
The health department approved the Navy’s PFAS Sampling and Analysis Plan in response to the leak on Dec. 1, according to the Navy release. As part of the plan, the Joint Task Force will test nine groundwater monitoring wells for PFAS and remove 3,000 cubic feet of soil, according to the Navy.
The Joint Task Force has already removed approximately 85 percent of the soil that it’s storing in 55-gallon drums.
“Additionally, a significant amount of the contaminated asphalt and concrete swale has been removed from the site and taken to an interim site on [Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham],” according to the release. “All of the AFFF free product in the interior of Adit 6 has been absorbed with absorbent pads, and a technical evaluation is currently in progress to determine the means and methods to remediate AFFF from the concrete surface.”
Due to the leak, repairs related to the defueling of Red Hill have been suspended so the task force can focus on the spill response and figure out how the lack of AFFF will affect the defueling process, according to the release.
The task force announced on Monday that surveillance footage from the leak will be released to the Hawaii Department of Health and the EPA for their investigations. It will not release the footage publicly.
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RED HILL AFFF FIRE SUPPRESSANT SPILL – DEC. 2 UPDATE
News Release from Hawaii DoH, Dec 2, 2022
HONOLULU – The Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) continues to respond to a release of approximately 1,100 gallons of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), which is used as a fire suppressant, above Adit 6 at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. DOH continues to work quickly and methodically in coordination with federal regulators.
On Dec. 1, DOH approved the Navy’s plan to sample groundwater and soil for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a component of AFFF. Ten groundwater monitoring wells near Adit 6 will be sampled weekly. Both excavated soil and soil in the area surrounding the spill will be sampled to evaluate effectiveness of the excavation effort.
There continues to be no evidence of impact to surface water or drinking water.
DOH’s Clean Water Branch inspected the site and confirmed that mitigation measures are in place to protect surface water in the event of rain.
DOH continues to oversee soil removal at the Red Hill facility. DOH’s on-scene coordinators have been on site every day to oversee work.
DOH continues its efforts to hold the Navy and Department of Defense accountable to provide more information on the spill. In a formal Notice of Interest, DOH is requiring the Navy to provide a detailed description of the cause and events leading to the release, an accurate inventory and locations of AFFF remaining at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, and materials that detail changes made to the AFFF concentrate system in 2022.
Previous updates on the AFFF spill response and information on DOH’s Red Hill work are available at health.hawaii.gov/RedHill.
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Rep Kahele Demands Info About Navy Red Hill Contractors
CB: … The congressman, who will leave office in January following an unsuccessful run for governor, requested answers by Dec. 16 to a number of questions, including a full list of private contractors at Red Hill and details about how they are held accountable. The Navy said last week that its contractor Kinetix installed the valve that leaked the AFFF and was also running the system at the time of the incident ….
read … Kahele: Navy’s Latest Red Hill Leak Shows ‘Horrifying Negligence’
SA: Navy refuses to publicly release video of latest Red Hill spill