Statements from the Hawaii Department of Health and the Navy on Friday said the permit will allow for the removal of contamination from the freshwater aquifer beneath the storage facility.
On Nov. 28, the Navy shut down its Red Hill well after reporting that people on the base were suffering from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and skin problems.
Tests revealed petroleum hydrocarbons and vapors in the water, the Navy said. The deputy commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, Rear Admiral Blake Converse, later confirmed that an oil leak was the cause.
“When pumping begins, up to 5 million gallons of water per day will be pumped from the Red Hill well,” the Navy said in an email to CNN.
“The water will pass through a Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration system, where it will be closely monitored and tested to ensure it does not pose a threat to human health or the environment, before discharging. in the Halawa Stream.”
The permit was approved by the Interagency Drinking Water Systems Team (IDWST), a coalition of the Hawaii Department of Health, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Hawaii Department of Health, the US Navy and the US Army. It requires water to be tested at “every stage of the treatment process” and to shut down if levels fail to meet DOH requirements.
The IDWST said the plan will reduce contamination, protect plants and wildlife, and lay the groundwork for understanding how groundwater has been contaminated.
In early December, the Navy discovered contamination at the Red Hill Shaft. The Honolulu Water Supply Board (BWS) later shut down the Halawa Well, Oahu’s largest water source, after the Navy said it found “a probable source of contamination.”
At the time, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday called the situation “completely and utterly unacceptable”.
CNN contacted the governor’s office regarding the permit but did not receive a response.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.