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Health department allows Navy to discharge treated water from Red Hill Shaft into Halawa Stream

filtered water navy 122021
Casey Harlow
Filtered water outputs into a nearby field on Dec. 20, 2021.

The state Department of Health has granted the Navy a permit to discharge treated water from its contaminated Red Hill Shaft into Halawa Stream.

granular activated carbon filter units navy water discharge red hill
Scott Kim
The fuel-contaminated water will travel twice through a granular activated carbon filtration (GAC) system, officials said Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.

The permit allows the Navy to flush up to 5 million gallons a day from the shaft into filter units that would eliminate fuel contaminants before it is discharged into the waterway.

DOH Deputy Director Kathleen Ho says water needs to be pumped out of the Red Hill Shaft to prevent contamination of the aquifer beneath the Red Hill fuel storage facility.

The Navy must install equipment to monitor the process, and Ho says if at any time contaminants exceed acceptable levels, they will stop operations.

The Red Hill Shaft was taken offline last November after residents of military housing began complaining of a jet fuel odor in their tap water.

Navy officials said they suspect the contamination came from a fuel spill earlier that month, but the findings of an investigation have not been made public.

Click here to read the full 224-page Red Hill Shaft recovery plan.

Scott Kim is a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact him at
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