HONOLULU (KHON2) — The U.S. Navy applied for eight new 2-inch groundwater monitoring wells that will be used to detect fuel in the lower tunnel at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

The Commission on Water Resource Management announced the approval of the Navy’s application on Friday, April 8.

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CWRM issues permits for groundwater monitoring wells throughout the state. The locations of the wells were determined after a consultation with the Hawai’i Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

These wells will add to our existing knowledge of the hydrogeology of the area and provide for long-term monitoring of our water resources.” “These wells meet CWRM’s construction standards and are designed to protect the environment and water resources.” 

— Deputy Director of CWRM Kaleo Manuel.

According to the Department of Health, stakeholders with the CWRM, DOH, EPA, NAVY, HONOLULU Board of Water Supply, and U.S. Geological Survey eight additional priority monitoring well locations have been identified and will need to be approved before installing them.

“Due to the Navy’s contamination of our water resource, it is critical that we learn more about the aquifer.” “These new monitoring wells will provide insight into the extent of the recent spill beyond the lower tunnel and provide data that will help our experts track possible contamination.” 

— Deputy Director for Environmental Health Kathleen Ho.

The Navy will work closely with “landowners to site new sentinel monitoring wells between the Red Hill facility and nearby public water supplies,” said DOH.

According to DOH, the application for the eight new approved monitoring wells was inspired while the Navy was installing the prior approved monitoring well. While drilling the well, the Navy found evidence of contamination in soil and pockets of water.

DOH determined that Well 17 was located near a former oily waste disposal tank and related pipeline. The Navy plans to install a solid pipe within the well to protect the water resource.

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The state said samples and field measurements are collected regularly in the monitoring wells and measure water quality parameters, including the groundwater level.

Testing samples from the monitoring wells for several contaminants, including petroleum compounds, will be required by the Navy regularly.