Navy creates app to track defueling at Red Hill facility

by Vern Evans

The Navy Closure Task Force-Red Hill announced the release of a new, free mobile app for those interested in tracking defueling and decommissioning operations at the controversial Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.

The app will track a number of items related to Red Hill: tank cleaning, the decommissioning plan, environmental remediation, regulatory approvals, and other operational planning developments, according to a statement from the task force.

“This app is another communication method we are using to share important information and to reach a larger audience across numerous digital platforms,” said Rear Adm. Steve Barnett, commander of the task force, in the statement.

The app is available for download on the iOS app store and the Google Play store, according to the task force. Individuals can search for the app under “NCTF-Red Hill” and users can enable push notifications to receive regular updates.

The EPA in October approved the Defense Department to begin defueling the Hawaii storage facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Nearly two years earlier, a spill leaked into a water well that serves more than 90,000 people. Navy officials initially claimed the water was safe to drink, but residents around Pearl Harbor reported that their drinking water smelled like fuel.

Nearly 6,000 personnel — including military families — sought medical care for rashes, sores, nausea and other ailments after being exposed to the water. As of June 2023, nearly 1,500 people had filed an administrative claim against the Navy, in addition to a pending federal lawsuit with 300 plaintiffs.

In the wake of the Red Hill leaks, the Navy announced that it was centralizing oversight of base water systems across all 70 installations in the service.

Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.

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