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    Military Ready to Drain Red Hill After Finishing Repairs

    Military Ready to Drain Red Hill After Finishing Repairs

    The task charged with defueling the massive underground fuel tanks at the Navy's Red Hill facility announced Wednesday that it had successfully completed all repairs and modifications to the aging World War II-era facility the state Department of Health said the military must perform to safely begin draining the tanks.

    The tanks currently hold 104 million gallons of fuel and sit just 100 feet above a critical aquifer most of relies on for drinking water. After years of military officials waving off concerns from local officials and community leaders about the safety of the facility, in November 2021 jet fuel from the facility entered and contaminated the Navy's Oahu water system, which serves 93, 000 people.

    Last year the Pentagon appointed Vice Adm. John Wade to lead the newly assembled Joint Task Force-Red Hill in defueling the tanks. When Wade took command, he said his timeline to finish defueling would be about mid-2024, but that he would actively look for ways to move faster.

    This summer, the task force said that it found ways to expedite the process and plans to have most work done by the end of January with defueling operations set to begin in October. However, long-term remediation and closure of the facility—which will be overseen by different agencies—will take much longer.

    “Today marks a tremendous milestone for our team. Completing the repairs paved the way for us to…

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