EPA to inspect Navy fuel tanks after Hawaii water tainted
HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday it planned to inspect a Navy fuel storage facility in Hawaii after it spilled petroleum that contaminated Pearl Harbor drinking water late last year.
The EPA informed Navy Region Hawaii in a letter that it would conduct an underground storage tank inspection and a spill prevention inspection the week of Feb. 28.
Martha Guzman, the agency’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement that the EPA was conducting the inspections given recent events and because of its regulatory and oversight responsibilities.
The EPA conducted a Clean Water Act inspection of the Red Hill fuel storage facility in October, agency spokesperson Mike Alpern said in an email. The agency conducted an underground storage tank site visit in 2015 and a spill prevention inspection in 2011.
The letter said the agency would continue to work the Navy and the Hawaii Department of Health to restore safe drinking water to the community and to make sure the nearby groundwater aquifer is protected.
The Navy isn’t sure what caused the spill, though it has been investigating a theory that jet fuel spilled when a pipe ruptured in May and got into a fire suppression system drain line. It believes fuel then may have leaked from this drain line into a Navy drinking water well and been pumped into the Navy’s water system.