State briefs for November 9

Navy offers updated plan to reinforce Honolulu fuel storage

HONOLULU — The U.S. Navy says it is considering a new plan to use double-wall tanks to upgrade a fuel storage facility in Honolulu.

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Hawaii Public Radio reported Thursday that the Navy updated its initial proposal to reinforce tanks at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

The Navy says if the upgrade cannot be completed it will relocate the fuel in 20 tanks that sit atop the Southern Oahu Basal Aquifer.

A 2014 leak of 27,000 gallons of fuel at the facility threatened Oahu’s drinking water and prompted calls for improvements.

The Navy’s Sept. 9 proposal had favored single-wall tank upgrades with added monitoring features.

The plan was rejected by a Honolulu City Council committee last month and was opposed by the Board of Water Supply.

Honolulu lifeguard service to extend hours beginning in 2021

HONOLULU — Honolulu plans to extend the working hours of lifeguards watching the beaches under a measure adopted by the City Council.

Lifeguard service could be expanded from sunrise to sunset beginning in July 2021.

Lifeguards currently work from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. but officials said about 20% of emergencies occur outside the standard hours. A pilot project expanding lifeguard service at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve made the beach safer while boosting employee morale, officials said.

The bill approved by councilors Wednesday calls for the emergency services director to develop a plan to be submitted by January 2021 for implementation six months later.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell indicated he will likely sign the bill.

The cost of extended hours has not been determined, while low state employment and other factors create difficulties in determining how much time will be needed to fully expand coverage, Emergency Services Director Jim Howe said.

The city’s Ocean Safety Division has grown each year for at least the past decade to match the growing number of visitors. Extending lifeguard service from dawn to dusk is “the last major step in the process” to ensure the safety of visitors and residents alike, Howe said.

Several current and former lifeguards testified in favor of the bill during previous hearings. Randy Perreira, executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the union that represents lifeguards, said they have sought extended hours for years.

“That the lifeguards themselves supported this bill shows that their passion for keeping people safe is part of who they are — not just what they do,” Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, who introduced the bill, said in a statement.

Officials responding to oil spill from cargo ship in Hawaii

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard said a cargo ship spilled oil into Honolulu Harbor.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class James Connor said local and federal officials were working on cleanup Thursday after a 433-foot container ship spilled oil a day earlier during a fueling operation.

It was not immediately clear how much oil spilled or how much fuel the vessel contains. It’s owned by shipping company Matson Inc.

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Absorbent material was placed around the ship and about 120 gallons of oil had been recovered as of Thursday evening.

A Coast Guard flight confirmed oil leaked outside a containment area and was washing ashore across the harbor on Sand Island. Officials say there were no reports of wildlife being injured.

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