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Aloha ʻĀina: Kapūkakī (Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility)

Current land and water issues in Hawaiʻi with focus on ʻEwa and Waiʻanae moku

Overview of Issue

NOTE: We try to update this guide as quickly as possible but because there have been so many new developments, it is difficult to continuously update. If you are looking for immediate updates, check out the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi's Live Updates page or your local news.

SUMMARY: In 2014, 27,000 gallons of jet fuel leaked from one of the fuel storage tanks at Red Hill in Moanalua. These storage tanks are the largest of its kind in the U.S. and sit only 100 feet above one of Oʻahu's main aquifers which would affect the water supply of residents from Hālawa to Maunalua [Hawaiʻi Kai]. This issue is ongoing and the fuel tanks continue to leak. People who live nearby have reported smelling fuel in their water and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health has said that preliminary reports show petroleum in the water and more recently, another shaft was discovered to be contaminated with diesel, causing both shafts to shut down. Though the Pentagon has committed to shutting down the Red Hill fuel tanks within two years, the tanks continue to leak and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply is unsure of the wells can ever be brought back online. A report released in June 2022 states that the U.S. Navy was negligent in the maintenance of the fuel tanks, resulting in (preventable) leaks. The U.S. Navy has begun to defuel some pipelines but is proposing to have the fuel tanks closed by 2027 and to stay in place for potential use in the future. Recent depositions have also revealed that the U.S. Navy knew the water was tainted but publicly claimed the water was safe.

In November 2022, 1,100 gallons of toxic fire suppressant leaked from a storage tank and into the ground. While Navy officials declared the water safe to use, they are unsure of the cause of the fire suppressant leak and claim this will further delay defueling the fuel tanks. Additionally, the U.S. Navy withheld information that these "forever" chemicals were in groundwater samples in 2020 and 2021

As of October 2023, the U.S. Navy has started to defuel the tanks that hold about 104 million gallons of fuel. The fuel will be taken to storage containers in Campbell Industrial Park or the Philippines. 

WATCH: Contamination in Navy’s water system a crisis decades in the making from Honolulu Civil Beat and Hawaiʻi News Now.


Articles and Reports

Image from KHON2 News.


Database from the UHWO Library

Access limited to UHWO students, faculty, and staff

This issue is ongoing so you may not find peer-reviewed articles specific to Red Hill. You can try a general search for fuel tank leaks or aquifers and Hawaiʻi. Add "Red Hill" to narrow down your results. 

Books and media @ UHWO Library

Source: Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi

Use the library catalog to search for books and media in the UHWO Library. Examples of subject headings:

News articles

Scroll down for the latest articles about the Red Hill fuel spills.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of news articles.