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Groundwater Flow in the Halawa Area, Oahu, Hawaii

Project Chief: Delwyn S. Oki
Project Period: March 2015 to December 2016
Cooperator: Honolulu Board of Water Supply
Location: Island of Oahu


Fuel leaks from the Red Hill underground fuel storage facility represent a source of groundwater contamination that may adversely affect the quality of water pumped by large nearby production wells. Understanding of the groundwater-flow direction near the Red Hill fuel storage facility is uncertain because of the relatively flat water-table gradient in the area and the presence of possible subsurface geologic barriers that may impede flow. Thus, additional data and analyses are needed to improve the understanding of the potential for water sources to be affected by fuel leaks from the Red Hill facility.


The objective of the study is to evaluate whether production wells may be vulnerable to contamination from a fuel leak.

Relevance and Benefits

The study is consistent with the USGS Science Strategy to develop models and decision support tools for decision making on hazards, vulnerable water supplies, human uses, and ecosystems. The study also addresses three of the six science directions identified by the USGS Science Strategy: (1) the role of environment and wildlife in human health; (2) a water census of the United States; and (3) a National hazards, risk, and resilience assessment program.


To meet the objective of this study, the USGS will (1) survey well measuring-point elevations to a common datum; (2) collect continuous groundwater-level data before, during, and after scheduled shutdowns of large production wells; (3) estimate changes in groundwater recharge from about 1900 to 2010 with a water-budget model in the areas immediately east of the Pearl Harbor area; and (4) develop a numerical model capable of simulating groundwater flow and solute transport within the Pearl Harbor and Halawa areas. Results from this study will be published in the USGS Scientific Investigations Report series and made available on the internet.

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 18-Jan-2017 18:23:20 EST