Maui News

Hawai‘i DOH Confirms “High Levels of Petroleum Contamination” in Red Hill Shaft

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Red Hill Shaft Samples discussed. Informational Briefing 1:30 p.m., Dec. 10, 2021. PC: Hawai’i State Senate

Samples collected from the Navy’s Red Hill drinking water shaft on Sunday, Dec. 5 tested positive for “high levels of gasoline and diesel range hydrocarbons.”

Department officials say this is consistent with visual observations and odors detected by Hawaiʻi Department of Health staff when the samples were collected.

DOH received the detailed lab reports late last night. The reports were immediately analyzed by DOH staff. Findings include the following:

  • Samples from the Navy’s Red Hill Shaft contained total petroleum hydrocarbons diesel range organics (TPH-d) 350 times the DOH Environmental Action Level for drinking water.
  • The Red Hill Shaft samples also tested positive for gasoline range organics more than 66 times the DOH EAL.

The DOH samples were analyzed by Eurofins Laboratory in California. Eurofins found 140,000 parts per billion (ppb) of TPH-d. The DOH EAL for TPH-d is 400 ppb. Eurofins found total petroleum hydrocarbons gasoline range organics (TPH-g) at 20,000 ppb. The EAL for TPH-g is 300 ppb. 

The DOH notes that trace levels of petroleum were also found in samples collected at the Aliamanu Child Development Center and private residences on the Navy’s water system.

Samples collected from Aliamanu Child Development Center on Friday Dec. 3 tested positive for trace levels of oil range organics below the drinking water threshold. A level of 52 ppb of total petroleum hydrocarbons oil range organics (TPH-o) was detected in a sample from the Aliamanu Child Development Center. A level around 50 ppb of product consistent with petroleum was detected in samples from the Eagle Circle at Red Hill and Milo Lane in Aliamanu Military Reservation.


The DOH notes that sampling only captures contaminant levels at a point in time. DOH will discuss the results further at the 1:30 p.m. briefing before the Hawaiʻi State Legislature.

Red Hill Shaft Samples discussed. Informational Briefing 1:30 p.m., Dec. 10, 2021. PC: Hawai’i State Senate

The DOH recommends Navy water system users should avoid using the water for drinking, cooking or oral hygiene. This includes consumption by pets. Navy water system users who detect a fuel-like odor from their water should avoid using the water for drinking, cooking, bathing, dishwashing, laundry or oral hygiene. This recommendation applies to users of the Navy’s Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam water system, including the Aliamanu Military Reservation, Red Hill and Nimitz Elementary Schools and military housing.

US Congressman Ed Case touring the Army’s Family Assistance Center at the Āliamanu Military Reservation and the Marine and Navy assistance sites at Halsey Terrace, and a Town Hall at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. PC: Courtesy

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