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Environmental regulators raising concerns fuel leaks, the way the Navy has been evaluating the risks raised by further potential leaks from giant fuel tanks makes Honolulu’s water dirty.

Environmental-regulators-raising-concerns-fuel-leaksEnvironmental regulators said that Navy analysis may underestimate the contamination potential of leaks from giant fuel tanks near Pearl Harbor.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawaii Department of Health sent a letter to the Navy last month indicate their concerns about the Navy’s work.

The Navy has 20 underground fuel storage tanks dating to World War II in the hills above Pearl Harbor. The tanks sit on an aquifer that supplies a quarter of the water consumed in urban Honolulu.

The Navy and regulatory agencies are working on a 20-year-plan to reduce the risk of leaks and fuel contamination from the tanks. The plan includes evaluating new tank designs and changing storage place.

The Navy and its consultants may be prematurely drawing conclusions and predicting groundwater flow and the movement of contaminants. Navy’s approach may not lead to a “conservative evaluation.”

The consultant said the Navy doesn’t seem to take the risks posed by fuel leaks into account to same degree. Navy requires installing double walled tanks at Red Hill within 5 years. Fuel should be moved if they can’t fix the problem. So that current safety standards will meet.

The House environment committee schedule to consider a bill on regulations for the Red Hill tanks at a hearing.