There is no doubt that water is important but sometimes we take it for granted thinking it will always be there. Like petroleum, one day fresh water will become a scarce resource. We assume that the artesian wells that provide Oahu's fresh water will continue to be productive but ever since they've been tapped, in the 1940's, the levels have been decreasing. I recently got a chance to revisit the Board of Water Supply's Halawa Pumping Station since the last time was quite a while ago. Things haven't changed much. The trolley that takes you down the shaft still reminds me of a carnival ride. What is amazing is the fresh water that sustains all of us resides in pools deep in the earth. The system that replenishes this supply is well understood. But as the demands on these water resources grow, whether it be population growth or development, you can see the water levels drop from the 1940s to present. In addition to increased water usage there are the threats due to contamination. A recent revelation was the fuel storage facility located on Red Hill. These large containers of jet fuel are leaking and pose a threat to the Moanalua wells. Discussions for a remedy are ongoing between the BWS and Navy as this site visit might indicate, but it is still unclear what the solution is and a proposed settlement is still forthcoming. This will become an issue if not already. You can familiarize yourself with this project by reviewing the Administrative Order on Consent and the Statement of Work along with an archive of supporting documentation I helped to produce in collaboration with the Board of Water Supply.
July 20th was the deadline for public comment on the Red Hill Fuel Tank Administrative Order. The EPA and State Dept of Health sought feedback from the public regarding the fuel tank storage tanks and plans to minimize the fuel leaks from the tanks. It is now up to the EPA and DOH to decide whether or not to sign the Administrative Order on Consent with the U.S. Navy to make it effective or to modify it base on information received during the public comment period. The Board of Water Supply released the following comments and a summary of the comments on July 20, 2015:
- Summary of the Board of Water Supply's Comments on the Proposed Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) and Attachement A, Statement of Work (SOW) on the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (July 20, 2015)
- Board of Water Supply Comments on the Proposed Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) and Attachement A, Statement of Work (SOW) on the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (July 20, 2015)