HONOLULU — The U.S. military said it is finished draining three pipelines connecting Pearl Harbor to a fuel storage facility that last year spilled jet fuel into the military installation’s tap water and sickened 6,000 people.
About 1 million gallons (3.79 million liters) of fuel had been sitting in the pipelines since the military stopped using the Red Fuel Bulk Fuel Storage Facility after last November’s spill.
The pipeline draining ended Thursday after starting a little more than a week earlier.
The military said it will next repair equipment at the Red Hill tank farm to allow it to safely remove fuel from storage tanks in preparation for closing the facility.
The Hawaii Department of Health ordered the Navy to shutter the facility after the spill, which also contaminated the ground underneath the tanks and threatened the health of an aquifer that provides water to 400,000 people in Honolulu.
The military expects to finish draining the storage tanks by July 2024. The tanks still have 100 million gallons (379 million liters) in them.
The entity managing the defueling, Joint Task Force Red Hill, said in a statement Thursday that it’s working with Hawaii’s health department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to find ways to safely drain the tanks sooner.