HONOLULU (KHON2) — Nearly a year after residents began complaining of fuel in their water, the Navy is gearing up to start its defueling process for Red Hill. The first step is called “unpacking” where they’ll get petroleum out of the pipelines.

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DoD is in the process of unpacking three pipelines with about 1 million gallons of fuel currently sitting in them. The unpacking will take about a week. Captain Shawn Triggs, commander of Naval Supply Fleet Logistics, Pearl Harbor, said, “Red Hill stores three different fuel types, and each fuel type has its own pipeline. That 1 million gallons needs to come out of those pipelines before we can begin the repairs and the necessary modifications to build the resiliency of those pipelines for defueling.”

The unpacking process has four phases with phase one being training and preparation. “We’ve also incorporated lessons learned from the May and the November spills. So, we apply those lessons learned so that we could improve our performance and reduce risk to the greatest extent possible.” Said Rear Admiral John F.G. Wade, Red Hill Joint Task Force Commander.

Phase two of unpacking was completed on Monday October 24, 2022, which consists of valve checks and pressure equalization. October 25, DoD will began releasing fuel in phase three.

“Roughly about 90% of the fuel that’s in those pipelines will be removed via gravity.”

Captain Shawn Triggs, commander of naval supply fleet logistics

However, officials say gravity will not get all the fuel out of the three pipelines. “We’re going to have to actually remove the residual fuel by pulling it out of the line and that actually will be done in phase four,” Said Captain Shawn Triggs.

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Because each of the three pipelines has different types of fuel, DoD will drain each one separately. After phase four they will store the fuel in multiple tanks throughout Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam and use it to fuel aircrafts and ships.