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For Immediate Release
February 6, 2023

Board of Water Supply Objects to Environmental Protection Agency 2023 Administrative Order on Consent

HONOLULU – The Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS) cannot support, and the U.S. EPA should not approve, the draft administrative order on consent with the U.S. Department of the Navy (Navy) and the Defense Logistics Agency concerning the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (the “2023 Consent Order”).  By its own accord, the proposed 2023 Consent Order is supposed to be an administrative action taken by EPA to prevent releases of fuel and other hazardous substances and to protect drinking water, natural resources, human health, and the environment.  Simply put, the proposed 2023 Consent Order fails to establish the necessary regulatory framework or mechanisms to meet any of these objectives.  The BWS is extremely disheartened that the 2023 Consent Order, as proposed, does nothing to ensure the Navy remediates the considerable damage it has done to Oahu’s irreplaceable sole-source groundwater aquifer or address the serious public health impacts that are the direct result of the Navy’s history of numerous, voluminous releases at the Red Hill facility.  Equally disappointing, the proposed 2023 Consent Order lacks important details, clear timelines, strict penalties, meaningful opportunities for stakeholder participation, and public transparency.  Unless and until these fatal deficiencies are corrected, the BWS must insist that the proposed 2023 Consent Order be rejected and that the EPA work cooperatively to implement the Hawaii Department of Health’s (DOH) emergency order.

The contamination caused by the Navy’s releases from the Red Hill facility poses imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and the environment and requires resolute agency action to address this imminent peril to Oahu’s critical drinking water resources.  Quick and decisive regulatory enforcement is needed to ensure that the Navy safely and expeditiously defuels and permanently closes the Red Hill facility and takes responsibility for the significant damages it has caused.  The DOH’s emergency order and other existing directives provide a framework for addressing closure and defueling, the only issues covered by the proposed 2023 Consent Order.  If yet another regulatory order is to govern the defueling and permanent closure of the Red Hill facility, it must include clear deadlines, more details, and strong penalties for noncompliance.  It must mandate immediate, active remediation of the subsurface and groundwater in the vicinity of Red Hill.  It must require that the Navy address the serious impacts to public health that arose from the contamination.  And it must be completely transparent with stakeholders and the public.  As proposed, the 2023 Consent Order fails to meet any of these criteria.  The people of Oahu deserve, and the law requires, strong regulatory action to address releases of fuel and other hazardous substances from the Red Hill facility, not the same failed policies and oversight practices that led to the contamination of our irreplaceable sole-source groundwater aquifer.

Oahu’s sole-source groundwater aquifer is one of a kind and cannot be replaced; we all must be vigilant in protecting this resource because there is no viable alternative from which to replenish our drinking water supplies.  The BWS encourages the community to take action to safeguard the island’s drinking water by submitting written comments to the EPA online at https://www.regulations/gov under docket number EPA-R09-RCRA-2022-0970 by February 6, 2023.

For the latest updates from the BWS regarding the ongoing situation at Red Hill and its impact on O‘ahu's precious water resources, go to



Kathleen Elliott-Pahinui
Information Officer
Honolulu Board of Water Supply
Phone: (808) 292-4672