HONOLULU (KHON2) — Navy officials said on Tuesday, Nov. 29 that they discovered 1,100 gallons of toxic fire suppressant had been released from a Red Hill storage facility.
Officials said on Saturday, Dec. 3 that the amount that was actually released could be almost 20 percent higher than originally reported.
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Military officials said the 1,100 gallons of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) was released inside a tunnel at Red Hill and the immediate outside and adjacent area.
According to a sampling plan submitted to the Department of Health on the evening of Friday Dec. 2, an estimated 1,300 gallons actually went out.
Retired Army colonel and State Department diplomat Ann Wright said it is nothing new.
“I was in the military myself for 29 years, so I know that there is, there are challenges with giving fast, breaking news on incidents,” Wright said.
The Joint Task Force also initially said that closed-circuit cameras were not present where the release occurred at Adit 6. Navy Region Hawaii said through a statement on Friday:
“Within the first 24 hours of the release, JTF Red Hill received initial information that Adit 6 did not have closed-circuit cameras. Operators of the closed-circuit system later informed JTF Red Hill of the existence of two cameras [one operational] at Adit 6. We are correcting the record regarding the closed-circuit cameras. Video collected from the closed-circuit camera is currently under review for future release. All questions regarding the content of the video will be answered after the video is cleared for release. There are 57 closed-circuit cameras to support fuel operations at both Red Hill and JBPHH. Thirty-seven of these cameras are located at Red Hill. Thirty of the Red Hill cameras are operational.”Lydia Robertson, Navy Region Hawaii public affairs officer
Oahu Water Protector Mikey Inouye was not happy to hear the news.
“We need to know what’s going on at that site. Press needs to be allowed at that site and they need to release that footage unedited to the general public,” Inouye said.
AFFF has a component with known carcinogens called Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). The Department of Health said on Saturday, Dec. 3 that there was no evidence of impact to surface and drinking water; but Inouye was still concerned.
“If you get a couple parts per trillion in your blood stream, that is considered unsafe,” Inouye said. A couple parts per billion is enough to increase your risk of cancer, and that’s what’s in A triple F.”
Wright and Inouye both said transparency will be a must going forward and suggested other civilian and government organizations get involved with oversight over Red Hill’s cleanup.
The Navy told KHON2 on Saturday that the 1,100-gallon estimate was an initial assessment; They are investigating the cause of the release and are working with regulators to clean up the site.