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Documents reveal Red Hill operators ignored alarms

Akana. He worked at the Navy’s Red Hill fuel storage facility as a systems analyst for nearly 40 years, and actually helped developed a leak detection system known as AsterNet. Now Victor Peters is speaking out right here on KITV4. Our Andrew Pereira joins us now with the KITV-4 exclusive..

. Yunji, Kennny… Peters says the fuel leak at Red Hill may be much more than the 27,000 gallons the Navy originally reported, and he’s got the documents to back it up.

After regular maintenance Red Hill Tank No. 5 went back online Dec. 9, 2013. That’s when the Navy began pumping jet fuel into the massive tank, 250 feet tall.

Victor Peters first began working at Red Hill as a fuel systems analyst in 1972 and helped develop procedures for the refilling of tanks.

VICTOR PETERS: “WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IS THEY WOULD FILL THE TANK UP TO ABOUT 50 FEET. AT APPROXIMATELY 50 FEET, WE WOULD PUT THE FLOAT GAUGE IN AND CALIBRATE THAT GAUGE. AND WE WOULD LET THAT SIT FOR ABOUT ONE TO THREE DAYS.” All tanks at Red Hill are supposed to be filled incrementally to check for leaks along the way. Peters says the most critical check is at the 50 foot level since most leaks are due to corrosion from water at the bottom of the tank.

VICTOR PETERS: “IT WAS REFINED OVER THE YEARS, BUT THEY STARTED USING THAT PROCESS IN THE 70’S.” As this document provided by Peters clearly shows, Tank No. 5 was filled from Dec. 9 to Dec. 12 to the 105 foot level without allowing enough time to check for leaks.

Red Hill operators continued to fill the tank to the 225 foot level while ignoring 10 separate alarms signifying the unscheduled movement of fuel, in other words, a possible leak. Peters says the Navy failed to follow its own procedures. The first alarm sounded on Dec.

10, one day after filling of the tank began, yet surprisingly it took operators at Red Hill 33 days to finally recognize these were legitimate alarms. VICTOR PETERS: “THEY GOT THOSE ALARMS AND FOR WHATEVER REASON DECIDED THAT THEY WEREN’T RELEVANT.

Q- SO, THE TECHNOLOGY WORKED ESSENTIALLY? A- YES IT DID.” But that’s not the most disturbing allegation. Peters says the 27,000 gallons of jet fuel the Navy says spilled from Tank No. 5 is likely closer to 40,000 gallons.

VICTOR PETERS: “IN OTHER WORDS, WHEN THE TANK WAS ACTUALLY MOVING, IT’S ALSO LOSING FUEL. THEY DIDN’T ACCOUNT FOR THAT. SO, MY RECOMMENDATION IS THAT YOU NEED THE RAW DATA AND YOU NEED AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR TO ANALYZE THIS DATA AND FIND OUT EXACTLY HOW MUCH HAS LEAKED.” Peters has the documents to back up his allegation. He along with other current and former Red Hill employees were copied on a report submitted by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, or SPAWAR.

Documents reveal Red Hill operators ignored alarms

VICTOR PETERS: “I’VE TALKED TO SOME PEOPLE AND THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE SEEN THIS SPAWAR DOCUMENT THAT HAVEN’T COME FORWARD. SO, THERE’S A LOT OF FEAR IN BRINGING THIS DATA FORWARD.” SPAWAR, the agency with the expertise to know, concluded in its Feb. 6, 2014 report that “approximately 8 inches of gross fuel” had been lost from Tank. No.

5. The report states “The worst case theoretical volume loss over 8″ would be approximately 936 barrels or 39,312 gallons.” Peters is a reluctant whistle- blower, having just recently retired. He hopes by coming forward one of Honolulu’s major aquifers can be protected.

He’s already sent his documents to the EPA and the Board of Water Supply.

VICTOR PETERS: “I WAITED AND WAITED HOPING THAT THIS WOULD ALL BE RESOLVED AND IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT WON’T GET RESOLVED UNLESS SOMEBODY LIKE MYSELF GETS INVOLVED.” The Navy is sticking to its original number that only 27,000 gallons of jet fuel leaked from Tank No. 5. Saying quote, “After emptying the tank, we were then able to calculate how much fuel was put in ..

. …and taken out of the tank from the first day that we began filling and the difference was 27,342 gallons.

” The Navy says the SPAWAR report given to us by Victor Peters is a “worst case theoretical.” However, the Navy does not deny it had chances to stop the leak when those ten alarms sounded over 33 days.

The Navy says it had no reason to suspect a leak, since Tank No. 5 had received a letter of suitability from an American- Petroleum-Ins titute-certified engineer. Navy spokesman Tom Clements said about the missed alarms, quote, “This was a mixture of procedure, expectations and being human.

” Andrew Pereira, KITV4 News..