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Joint Task Force Red Hill Begins Pipeline Unpacking

22-002 | Oct. 24, 2022

Unpacking (Related Video)

Joint Task Force – will begin removing approximately 1 million gallons of fuel Oct. 25, from the three primary pipelines connecting the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF) to fuel points on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The process referred to as “unpacking” in the Department of Defense’s (DOD) plan to defuel the facility, will completely empty the pipelines over the course of approximately one week. Emptying the pipelines is the first step in a comprehensive repair and maintenance process that will eventually lead to the defueling of the entire 104 million gallons of fuel in the facility.

“Unpacking the pipelines will be one of our first major milestones in the defueling effort,” said Rear Adm. John Wade, Commander of Joint Task Force – Red Hill. “For the past several months, the Navy has been working cooperatively with the Hawaii Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency to refine a plan for a safe unpacking process and following a successful Spill Response Exercise in September and the submission of our plans to the State of Hawaii, we are ready to carry out this operation safely.”

The three pipelines have held approximately 1 million gallons of various grades of fuel since the facility ceased operation at the order of the Secretary of Defense on March 7. When the unpacking operation begins, engineers will open a series of valves and allow gravity to empty the pipelines into above-ground storage tanks and fuel barges. During the unpacking, all valves to all tanks in the facility will remain secured and DoD has installed physical barriers between the pipelines and the Red Hill water shaft.

Joint Task Force – Red Hill is working closely with DOH and EPA to ensure protective measures are in place to both prevent the inadvertent release of fuel to the environment or the aquifer, and to immediately respond to a release event if one were to occur.

The Joint Task Force expects the pipelines to be empty of fuel by early November. The unpacked fuel from the Red Hill pipelines will be transferred to designated receipt locations at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and will be incorporated into the base’s fuel inventory. The fuel will not be reintroduced to the Red Hill facility.

“The entire unpacking process will take six working days to complete,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Shawn Triggs, Fleet Logistics Center - Pearl Harbor commanding officer. “Over the past several months we’ve refined our plan with the support of our partners at the Hawaii Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and we are now ready to begin moving fuel through the pipelines for the first time in almost a year. Unpacking is, in many ways, the first step in the complete defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.”

Joint Task Force - Red Hill was established by the Secretary of Defense to ensure the safe and expeditious defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Joint Task Force – Red Hill will ensure necessary maintenance and repairs to the facility’s infrastructure are completed and will work with State and Federal regulators to set conditions for closure.

Importantly, Joint Task Force – Red Hill is committed to consistent engagement and information sharing with local stakeholders to rebuild trust with the people of Hawaii.

For more information about JTF-Red Hill, or to provide public comment via our contact form, please visit

  • Joint Task Force-Red Hill Public Affairs

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