Crews have been poring over tank number 5 to find out why 5 and 1/2 inches of fuel disappeared the last time the tank was topped off.
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A vacuum test discovered the first clue: three pinholes.
“Indications are that through these pinholes we have identified a possible source which could have led to a reported 27,000 gallons that may have leaked out of the tanks. So it’s not holding air, it is probably not holding fuel,” said Capt. Mike Williamson, Chief Engineer of Navy Region Hawaii last week.
But the latest report is providing more clues.
The highlights in the latest Navy report show that 12 more defects were detected, bringing the total to 15. It noted that the tiny holes were found in welding repairs made during the tank's maintenance.
It also added that inspectors found 45 locations on the interior of the empty tank that appear suspect.
Next week crews will begin pressure testing the pipe system in order to learn more.
Meanwhile, the EPA wants to hear from companies who can help with the situation at Red Hill. It has issued a formal Request for Information.
Region 9 administrator Jered Blumenfeld, who toured the facility this spring, gave a straightforward reason as to why.
"The impacts are very bad when you mix fuel and drinking water and we want to make sure those two stay very far apart,” said Blumenfeld.
One local company is offering up its technology to help in the cleanup.
Global Biosciences LLC said with a patented process of injecting butane gas, it can feed and then starve microbes in the soil and water to do the dirty work and clean up the spill.
"We create a very ideal environment for them [the microbes], an ideal nutrition source so they can grow exponentially and we have a system to cut it off and they go after these contaminants and they neutralize the contaminants and render it inert," said Gilmore Ching of Global Biosciences.
Ching said the company's process has been successful in small -scale projects in five states and is offering to do a pilot project for the Navy.
The state health department is planning a public meeting next month to provide an update on its talks with the military about a regulatory order to add more monitoring wells as well as a timeline for cleanup.
"It is very, very expensive to clean up contaminated groundwater to the level that the public would feel safe. We want to make sure the water never gets contaminated,” stressed Blumenfed following his tour of the Red Hill facility in April.
It has been nearly six months since the spill was first reported. It is not clear exactly how much fuel actually spilled and where it went.
Officials are continuing to test the groundwater to make sure the spill hasn’t made its way into the aquifer.