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Red Hill

What is the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility?

Red Hill Lower Access Tunnel with fuel pipelines running along wall.Red Hill Lower Access Tunnel with fuel pipelines | Click image to enlarge

The Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility supports military operations in the Pacific. This facility, which is unlike any other in the United States, can store up to 250 million gallons of fuel. It consists of 20 steel lined tanks, encased in concrete, and built into cavities that were mined inside of Red Hill. Each tank has a storage capacity of approximately 12.5 million gallons. The tanks are connected to three pipelines that run 2.5 miles through a tunnel to fueling piers at Pearl Harbor. Presently, 18 tanks are operational, and two are not. Each of the 20 tanks at Red Hill measures 100 feet in diameter and is 250 feet in height. The cavity in which the tanks are built lies under approximately 100 feet of rock. Near Pearl Harbor, a pumping station at the end of the pipelines controls the filling of the tanks as well as dispensing fuel to ships and to nearby Hickam Air Field.

As world tensions increased leading up to World War II, the decision was made to build a new facility that would store more fuel and in a location that would not be exposed to an enemy attack. Constructed from December 1940 through 1943, the facility is located under a volcanic mountain ridge near Honolulu, Hawaii, east of Pearl Harbor. Originally designed as a series of horizontal tunnels, the plans for the facility underwent a last-minute revision to construct 20 vertical tanks that would be installed inside cavities mined in the mountain ridge. This design change greatly reduced the amount of time it would take to construct the facility. Construction continued nonstop except for the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.