Navy Removes 99% of AFFF Concentrate from Red Hill

Navy Removes 99% of AFFF Concentrate from Red Hill

Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) is a synthetic firefighting foam that has been widely used by the military and aviation industry for decades. Unfortunately, this highly effective fire suppression agent has also become a significant environmental concern due to its persistent and toxic nature. 

The contamination of groundwater, soil, and even drinking water sources by AFFF has become a pressing issue, with far-reaching consequences for human health and the ecosystem.

In this article, we will delve into the story of the Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility and the Navy's efforts to address the AFFF contamination that has plagued the area. We will explore the dangers of AFFF, the health effects associated with exposure, and the legal actions being taken against the Navy. 

If you or someone you care about has been impacted by AFFF contamination, seek guidance from a skilled attorney who can assist in filing AFFF lawsuits, navigate the legal system, and pursue the compensation and justice you are entitled to receive.

The Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility and its Significance

The Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility is a massive underground storage complex located in Hawaii, owned and operated by the United States Navy. This facility has played a crucial role in the military's fuel storage and distribution for decades, but it has also become the epicenter of a significant environmental crisis.

The facility consists of 20 underground storage tanks, each capable of holding up to 12.5 million gallons of fuel.

Over the years, these tanks have been plagued by leaks, contaminating the surrounding groundwater and the nearby Halawa and Moanalua aquifers, which serve as important drinking water sources for the local community.

What Is Aqueous Film Forming Foam?

Navy Removes 99% of AFFF Concentrate from Red Hill

Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) is a firefighting foam that is designed to rapidly extinguish hydrocarbon-based fires, such as those involving fuels, oils, and other flammable liquids. 

AFFF works by forming a thin, aqueous film that spreads across the surface of the burning liquid, effectively smothering the fire and preventing the release of flammable vapors.

Due to its exceptional fire-fighting capabilities, the military, aviation industry, and some municipal fire departments widely used AFFF. However, the very properties that make AFFF effective as a firefighting agent also contribute to its environmental and health concerns.

Why Is AFFF Dangerous?

AFFF contains a class of synthetic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are highly persistent in the environment and can bioaccumulate in living organisms. 

These PFAS chemicals are particularly problematic because they do not break down easily and can remain in the environment for decades, contaminating soil, groundwater, and even drinking water supplies.

The PFAS compounds found in AFFF may cause:

  • Thyroid disease
  • Kidney and testicular cancer
  • Reproductive and developmental problems
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Elevated cholesterol levels

Exposure to PFAS can occur through ingestion, inhalation, or dermal contact, and the effects can be particularly severe for vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant women.

How AFFF Concentrate Led to Contaminated Water

The Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility's use of AFFF significantly contaminated the surrounding water sources. 

Over the years, the facility has used large quantities of AFFF for firefighting and training exercises, and the PFAS-containing foam has been released into the environment, eventually making its way into the groundwater and drinking water supplies.

The leaks and spills from the facility's underground storage tanks have further exacerbated the problem, as the PFAS-contaminated fuel has also contributed to the overall contamination of the water resources. 

This has resulted in the detection of elevated levels of PFAS in the Halawa and Moanalua aquifers, which are critical drinking water sources for the local community.

Health Effects Resulting from High AFFF Concentrated Water

PFAS-contaminated water may cause a range of adverse health effects, particularly for those who have been consuming the contaminated water for an extended period. 

Some of the documented health issues associated with AFFF exposure include:

  1. Thyroid Disorders: PFAS have been shown to disrupt the normal functioning of the thyroid gland, leading to conditions such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
  2. Reproductive and Developmental Problems: PFAS exposure can interfere with normal reproductive and developmental processes, increasing the risk of fertility issues, birth defects, and developmental delays in children.
  3. Immune System Dysfunction: PFAS can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and chronic diseases.
  4. Elevated Cholesterol Levels: Exposure to PFAS has been linked to elevated levels of cholesterol, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  5. Cancer: Certain PFAS compounds, such as PFOA and PFOS, have been classified as possible carcinogens and have been associated with an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer.

These health effects can significantly affect the quality of life for those affected, and the long-term consequences of AFFF exposure are still being studied.

Lawsuits Waged Against the Navy

In response to the widespread AFFF contamination and its associated health impacts, plaintiffs filed lawsuits against the United States Navy. 

These legal actions seek to hold the Navy accountable for its role in the environmental disaster and to secure compensation for those affected by the contamination.

AFFF Concentrated Water

One such lawsuit was filed by the State of Hawaii, alleging that the Navy's negligence in managing and maintaining the Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility has led to the contamination of the state's water resources. 

The lawsuit seeks to compel the Navy to take immediate action to address the contamination and to provide financial compensation for the affected communities.

Additionally, individual lawsuits have been filed by residents and businesses in the affected areas, seeking damages for the harm caused by the AFFF contamination. These lawsuits allege that the Navy's use and improper disposal of AFFF has directly led to the contamination of their water sources and the resulting health issues.

The Navy's Silence About AFFF

Despite the growing concerns and legal actions surrounding the AFFF contamination at the Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility, the Navy has maintained a largely silent stance on the issue. Plaintiffs have criticized the Navy for its lack of transparency and reluctance to take full responsibility for its actions' environmental and health consequences.

The Navy's silence has only exacerbated the distrust and frustration felt by the local community, who have been left to grapple with the long-term impacts of the AFFF contamination. 

Many have expressed a desire for the Navy to be more forthcoming about the extent of the problem, the steps being taken to address it, and the support and resources available to those affected.

Don't wait any longer, call 866-535-9515 or submit your case for review today!

What to Do if You or a Loved One Has Been Affected?

If you or a loved one have been affected by the AFFF contamination in the Red Hill area, it is crucial to take immediate action. Here are the steps you should consider:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: If you or a family member are experiencing any health issues that you suspect may be related to AFFF exposure, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional who can properly diagnose and treat the condition.
  2. Document your Exposure: Keep detailed records of your water usage, any health issues you have experienced, and any medical treatments you have received. This documentation will be crucial if you decide to pursue legal action.
  3. Seek Legal Counsel: Given the complex nature of AFFF-related cases and the significant legal implications, consult an experienced attorney who deals in environmental and toxic exposure cases.

10 Reasons Why You Need a Lawyer

Here are 10 reasons why you should hire a lawyer if you’ve been affected by AFFF-contaminated water:

  1. Navigating the Legal System: Lawyers have the tools and resources to navigate the complex legal system and protect your rights.
  2. Identifying and Pursuing all Available Legal Remedies: Lawyers can identify all potential legal avenues for seeking compensation and hold the responsible parties accountable.
  3. Gathering and Presenting Evidence: Lawyers can help you collect and present the necessary evidence to support your case, including expert testimony and scientific data.
  4. Negotiating with Insurance Companies and Opposing Parties: Lawyers can negotiate on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome, whether through settlement or litigation.
  5. Ensuring Compliance with Relevant Laws and Regulations: Lawyers can handle your case in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
  6. Providing Legal Strategy and Guidance: Lawyers can develop a comprehensive legal strategy to maximize your chances of success.
  7. Protecting your Rights and Interests: Lawyers can safeguard your rights and interests throughout the legal process.
  8. Handling the Administrative and Procedural Aspects: Lawyers can handle the complex administrative and procedural aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
  9. Accessing Resources and Expert Witnesses: Lawyers can access a network of resources, including expert witnesses, to strengthen your case.
  10. Increasing your Chances of a Favorable Outcome: Lawyers have the experience to increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome, whether through a settlement or a court judgment.

What to Expect During the Litigation Process

If you decide to pursue legal action against the Navy for the AFFF contamination, the litigation process can be lengthy and complex.

Here's what you can generally expect:

  1. Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation: Your lawyer will review the details of your case and determine the best legal strategy.
  2. Filing the Lawsuit: Your lawyer will prepare and file the necessary legal documents to initiate the lawsuit.
  3. Discovery Phase: Both sides will exchange information and evidence, including documents, witness statements, and expert reports.
  4. Negotiation and Settlement: Your lawyer will negotiate with the opposing party to try to reach a fair settlement out of court.
  5. Trial Preparation and Court Proceedings: If a settlement is not reached, your case will proceed to trial, where your lawyer will present your case before a judge or jury.
  6. Judgment and Appeals: The opposing party may appeal the decision if the court rules in your favor.

Throughout the litigation process, your lawyer will guide you through each step and protect your rights and interests.

Key Factors That Can Impact Your Claim

Several key factors can impact the outcome of your AFFF-related claim against the Navy, including:

Litigation Process
  1. Strength of Evidence: The more comprehensive and compelling the evidence, the stronger your case.
  2. Expert Testimony: Testimony from qualified experts can be crucial in establishing the link between AFFF exposure and your health issues.
  3. Timing of Exposure: The duration and timing of your AFFF exposure can influence the severity of your health effects and the strength of your claim.
  4. Jurisdiction and Applicable Laws: The specific laws and regulations governing your case can vary depending on the jurisdiction.
  5. Negotiations and Settlement: The ability to negotiate a favorable settlement can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Your lawyer will work diligently to gather the necessary evidence, secure expert testimony, and navigate the legal landscape to maximize the chances of a successful outcome.

Why You Should Never File Your Own Claim

While it may be tempting to try to file a claim against the Navy on your own, it is generally not advisable. 

The legal complexities and challenges associated with AFFF-related cases make it crucial to have the guidance and representation of an experienced attorney. Some of the key reasons why you should avoid filing your own claim include:

  1. Lack of Legal Experience: Navigating the legal system and understanding the nuances of environmental and toxic exposure cases requires tremendous knowledge and skills.
  2. Difficulty Gathering and Presenting Evidence: Without the assistance of a lawyer, you may not collect and present the necessary evidence to support your case.
  3. Negotiation Challenges: Negotiating with the Navy and its legal team can be a formidable task for an individual, as they have significant resources and experience.
  4. Risk of Missing Deadlines and Procedural Requirements: Failing to meet strict deadlines or comply with legal procedures can jeopardize your case.
  5. Reduced Chances of a Favorable Outcome: Without a lawyer's experience and strategic guidance, your chances of securing a favorable outcome are significantly lower.

Working with an experienced attorney can increase your chances of a successful outcome and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the legal process.

Final Words

The AFFF contamination at the Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility is a complex and ongoing environmental disaster with far-reaching consequences for the local community. 

The Navy's use and improper disposal of this toxic firefighting foam have contaminated the area's water resources, resulting in a range of health issues for those exposed.

If you or a loved one have been affected by the AFFF contamination, seek medical attention, document your exposure, and consult an experienced attorney who can navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation and justice you deserve.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

Learn More

Latest News