Recommendations Wanted for Non-Fuel Repurposing of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility
Thank you for your interest. The first survey to collect input from the public on recommendations to re-purpose the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF) has closed as of May 31, 2023.
This qualitative survey was a coordinated effort from the U.S. Navy and Nakupuna Companies to collect ideas from the public regarding non-fuel uses for the facility following its closure. The Navy's closure plan for RHBFSF, submitted to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and the public on November 1, 2022, included provisions for the Navy to explore and evaluate potential options. Future surveys will be targeted to Oahu residents and those living in neighborhoods around Red Hill.
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On May 6, 2022, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) issued an Emergency Order to the Navy requiring the Navy to defuel and close RHBFSF. A requirement in that order for closing the facility was for the Navy to meet with the DOH. That meeting was held on July 14, 2022, and included discussion on closure options and elements the DOH required in the Closure Plan. The Navy’s Closure Plan, submitted to the DOH and the public on Nov. 1, 2022, included provisions for the Navy to explore and evaluate potential options. The Department of Defense will not allow for hazardous materials to be stored over the aquifer, and the Navy, at DOH’s request, has committed to exploring possible beneficial non-fuel reuses of RHBFSF. As part of fulfilling the requirement of the DOH, the Navy awarded a contract to the Nakupuna Companies.
Nakupuna and their subcontractors, CommPac* and SMS, have conducted two separate surveys. The first was an online qualitative survey available to the general public that closed on May 31st, 2023. The second is a quantitative survey made available through both a mail-in survey, with pre-paid postage, intended for the residents in the neighboring areas around Red Hill, as well as online for Oahu residents. This second survey is currently underway.
The online qualitative survey gave the public the opportunity to provide suggestions for repurposing of Red Hill, and to gather an estimate of how people are hearing and learning about Red Hill and additional information they would like to know.
The quantitative survey gathered resident feedback on the suggestions gathered from the qualitative survey and the soft sound interviews which included an online survey to a sampling of households from across O‘ahu and a direct-mail survey to a geographically representative set of households in the Red Hill area.
Now complete, the qualitative survey report is available to the public, as is a report summarizing a series of "Soft Sound" interviews completed earlier this year by CommPac. A report summarizing the qualitative survey will be completed following the close of the survey period.
These reports will be used in future discussions between the Navy, the DOH, the EPA, and other groups as they formulate plans for the beneficial re-use of RHBFSF following its closure.
The Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF) consists of 20 steel-lined underground storage tanks encased in concrete and built into cavities that were mined inside of Red Hill. Each of the tanks measures 100 feet in diameter and 250 feet in height, and has a storage capacity of 12.5 million gallons. Located under a volcanic ridge near Honolulu, Red Hill's tanks are connected to three gravity-fed pipelines that run approximately 3 miles inside a tunnel to fueling piers at Pearl Harbor.
A full description of the facility is available in the Navy's Closure Plan.
A series of one-on-one “talk story” interviews, also called “soft sounds interviews,” was held with key stakeholders and community influencers throughout Oahu to gain insight on their views of repurposing RHBFSF. Potential interviewees who represent a cross section of the community, including Native Hawaiian organizations, environmental groups, neighborhood boards, academia, business, the nonprofit sector and local government, were identified and invited to participate in the interview process. The individuals included residents who have been involved with and/or vocal on Red Hill-related issues as well as those who may not have been publicly active. Each individual was provided with a brief overview of the repurposing outreach project and invited to participate in a one-on-one informal interview.
CommPac developed a list of open-ended questions that were used during each interview. The questions were designed to allow the interviewees to provide as much or as little information as they felt comfortable. The questions solicited interviewees’ thoughts on potential repurposing of RHBFSF after the tanks are defueled and the facility is closed, ideas the interviewees might have for alternative uses of the facility, reaction to four potential repurposing categories (Department of Defense use, non-Department of Defense use, alternative energy use and non-alternative energy use), and what repurposing idea would be the most beneficial to the people of Hawaii. Specific examples of potential repurposing ideas were not included in the questions so as not to influence the responses or to give an impression that any particular idea was being favored over any others.
The prepared questions served as a starting point for the interviews, and in many cases, led to the individuals taking the conversation in a direction that they felt most comfortable with. The questions served as a guide for the discussion, and depending on the conversation, not all questions were asked during each interview. Because of this, the findings that will be detailed in a report that will be submitted to the Navy later this summer do not include any rankings of the ideas and suggestions that were raised by the interviewees.
To encourage candor, interviewees were assured that their comments would not be attributed to them directly but would be compiled into a report along with comments from other individuals.
A total of 51 individuals were invited to participate. Thirty agreed to be interviewed; 21 declined, did not respond or were unable to schedule a time to be interviewed. Twenty-nine of the one-on-one interviews were conducted via Zoom and one interview was conducted in person. One individual invited two staff members to participate in the interview (see #14 below). The interviews took place between April 3, 2023, and May 31, 2023.
The following individuals were interviewed.