State seeks hefty fine against Navy for repeatedly discharging raw sewage into Hawaii waters
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Health Department is seeking to slap the Navy with an $8.7 million fine for a long list of alleged violations associated with its NAVFAC Hawaii Wastewater Treatment Plant near Pearl Harbor, including discharging untreated or partially treated sewage into state waters hundreds of times.
The state is also ordering the Navy to make a series of critical repairs to the facility.
Health Department officials said the fine was based on:
- 766 counts of discharging pollutants exceeding permitted limits;
- 17 counts of unauthorized bypass;
- and 212 counts of operation and maintenance failures.
The DOH said it is ordering the Navy to make corrective actions, including making key repairs to disinfection systems, identifying and clearing all backlogged maintenance, and figuring out why pump failures are happening.
The Navy can contest the violations and seek a hearing.
State Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho said the Navy’s failure to properly maintain the wastewater treatment plant “led to the pollution of state waters.”
“We are taking action to protect our state’s water resources and to hold the Navy accountable to make critical repairs and prevent a potential catastrophic failure of the facility,” she said, in a news release.
In June 2021, the EPA entered into an agreement with the Navy to upgrade the treatment plan after inspectors detected toxic levels of pollution in the ocean. The agency said the Navy exceeded discharge limits under the Clean Water Act for cadmium, zinc, oil and grease, and that the plant had numerous violations.
Under the agreement, the repairs must be made by 2024.
The plant treats wastewater from the military’s Pearl Harbor facilities and serves up to 40,000 people.
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