DOH says Navy Red Hill defueling plan needs detail and specificity
In a July 22 letter to the Department of Defense, the state Department of Health rejected the Navy’s initial framework plans for defueling the Red Hill bulk storage facility.
DOH Deputy Director for Environmental Health Kathleen Ho said the plan didn’t have a thorough project timeline and expressed concern with the lack of necessary details, like plans for repairs to damaged pipelines.
“The DOD's submission lacks the requisite detail and specificity necessary for the DOH to fully evaluate how the Navy will execute safe and expeditious defueling," Ho wrote.
The DOD submitted the plan in June, per the health department’s May 6 emergency order to shut down the facility following drinking water contamination last November.
Earlier this month, Navy Region Commander Rear Admiral Stephen Barnett called this submitted plan a working “framework," and had always intended to submit a supplemental plan by the end of August.
The plan states it would take about two and a half years to make repairs before it could safely defuel the bulk storage facility. The DOH expressed concern for this timeline and questioned the Navy’s rationale in its review of the plan.
Ho said a supplemental report from the DOD needs to address these issues before the health department can give its approval.
"We understand that due to the fact that there are contingencies that need to be more fully understood and which are being examined pursuant to work being performed under current contracts, the DOD intends to supplement the plan by August 31, 2022, with submission to the DOH by September 2022," Ho said. "The DOH expects the DOD to address our attached comments in the supplement."
The health department has given the DOD a Sept. 7 deadline to address their most recent observations, and has asked the Navy to pad time for the DOH to review.
The five-phase plan, which the Navy says is already in play, is set to start its second phase of identifying actions required to enable defueling in September, which the DOH noted as an issue.
"The DOD's schedule does not incorporate time for DOH review," the letter says. "Time for DOH review is required to be included as part of the revised overall detailed critical path management project schedule."
Read the Department of Health's July 22 letter to the Department of Defense or click here to open a new window.