The Hawaii Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health, arguing the agency should have updated rules ensuring the safety of underground storage tanks.

The lawsuit comes as the Navy is undertaking a multi-million dollar effort to analyze how best to fortify underground fuel tanks at Red Hill, the largest facility of its kind in the nation. A 2014 spill prompted public concern about potential water contamination.

Marti Townsend, executive director of the Sierra Club, says the rules referenced in the lawsuit would affect 38 privately owned underground storage tanks that have not been upgraded and are separate from the Red Hill facility.

The Red Hill facility houses the largest underground fuel tank farm in Hawaii. PF Bentley/Civil Beat

“This lawsuit is meant to put more focus on the Department of Health’s obligations to protect groundwater resources from contamination,” she said, adding that she hopes it highlights the department’s need for additional resources.

The complaint says that a 1992 state law required the department to produce rules updating underground storage tanks by 1999.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said the agency is unable to comment on pending litigation.

Read the complaint below:

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