Red Hill still holds 104 million gallons of fuel directly over Oahu’s primary drinking water source. Most of it could be gone by next year.

The Red Hill fuel facility could be mostly drained as early as January based on a timeline shared publicly on Tuesday.

In a supplement to the defueling plan submitted to regulators, military officials said they can start draining the facility’s tanks of 104 million gallons of fuel as early as mid-October and remove most of the fuel by Jan. 19, 2024. That’s six months earlier than the previous goal to finish the job by the end of June 2024.

The advanced schedule would need approval from the Hawaii health department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Last year, the Department of Defense ordered the World War II-era facility to close amid unprecedented public pressure following the contamination of Oahu’s drinking water aquifer with fuel.

Joint Task Force Red Hill, which is leading the defueling effort, said in a press release that more than 99% of the fuel will be removed by January but a small portion — between 100,000 and 400,000 gallons — will temporarily remain. A plan to remove that fuel will be submitted to regulators, the joint task force said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Red Hill would be completely drained by mid-January.

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