State cites Navy for hazardous waste violations

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a notice of violation with a penalty fine totaling $80,000 against the U.S. Navy Public Works Center Makalapa Compound for alleged violations of the state's hazardous waste and used oil rules.

Makalapa Compound operates as a base yard for maintenance activities for Pearl Harbor Navy Region Hawai'i.

Makalapa faces four counts of failure to make a hazardous waste determination and two counts of storage of hazardous waste without a permit.  During a routine inspection on August 31, 2011, DOH found Makalapa failed to make a hazardous waste determination for corrosive wastes generated during coil cleaning of refrigerant equipment and for wastes generated from the use of solvents containing methyl ethyl ketone and perchloroethylene.

These wastes were disposed of in the trash instead of handling them as hazardous wastes.  Makalapa also stored hazardous waste paints and fuels in open containers, thereby violating the requirements for a permit for storage of hazardous waste.  The Navy has 20 days to contest its notice of violation and request a hearing.

Navy responds to State Dept. of Health

The Navy received a Notice of Violation from the State Department of Health (SDOH) in June 2012 for non compliance activities discovered during an inspection at Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii in August 2011.

The Navy took immediate corrective action, provided refresher training, and increased internal reviews to ensure compliance. An unannounced follow-up visit by SDOH in February 2012 revealed no negative comments or report. The Navy is committed to protecting and preserving the environment.

The Navy has formally requested a hearing to contest the Notice of Violation and Order and penalty.

During an unannounced inspection in August 2011, one (1) open hazardous waste drum in a hazardous waste accumulation site and three (3) open paint-related cans were identified as being improperly managed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The Navy addressed the concerns immediately and implemented procedures to ensure these actions are not repeated. Internal periodic reviews by subject matter experts indicate that the facility remains in compliance.

"The Navy in Hawaii takes its environmental stewardship very seriously and is constantly working towards being in compliance with all hazardous waste laws," said Aaron Poentis, Navy Region Hawaii Environmental Program Director. "In this case, SDOH inspectors found concerns at one of our local commands in August 2011 which we immediately corrected. A follow up SDOH visit occurred in February 2012 which did not generate any comment or report. I am confident that after our requested hearing for the Notice of Violation and Order much of the allegations will be resolved to the satisfaction of the SDOH."

The Navy plans to discuss SDOH's allegation and assessment. The Navy received the inspection report in November 2011, and a summary of our efforts and corrective actions was immediately forwarded to DOH in a January 2012 correspondence.

As always the Navy is committed to operating in a manner protective of the environment. The Navy has a long history of demonstrated environmental compliance.

National defense and environmental protection are, and must be, compatible goals.

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