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News Release: DOH investigating Red Hill AFFF fire suppressant spill

Posted on Nov 29, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) was notified this afternoon of a release of approximately 1,100 gallons of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), which is used as a fire suppressant, above Adit 6 at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Adit 6 is located at the mauka point of the Red Hill facility. 


DOH was notified of the release around 3:00 PM. A DOH On-Scene Coordinator responded and preliminarily reported that the spill was not contained and AFFF has spilled into soil outside of the Red Hill facility and into the facility near Adit 6. Efforts are underway to recover product. No surface water was contaminated.  


“This is egregious,” said Kathleen Ho, Deputy Director of Environmental Health. “AFFF contains PFAS forever chemicals—groundwater contamination could be devastating to our aquifer. While details are limited at this time, the Joint Task Force and Navy need to be transparent about how this happened. Regulators will hold the Department of Defense accountable and will press the operator to take any and all appropriate corrective action throughout the defueling and decommissioning process.” 


It was reported to DOH that the Navy uses AFFF C6 at the Red Hill facility. This type of AFFF contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). When released into the environment, PFAS are very slow to degrade and create persistent hazards to people, animals and the environment. 


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Katie Arita-Chang 

Communications Office 

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Phone: (808) 286-4806