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US Navy fined $8.8M by Hawaii for unauthorized sewage release

Hawaii Tainted Water
Posted at 3:50 PM, Sep 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-28 15:50:45-04

The U.S. Navy has received a hefty fine from Hawaii for repeatedly dumping untreated or partially treated sewage into state waters from a base near Pearl Harbor.

In a news release, the Hawaii Department of Health said they were fining the Navy $8.8 million after they recorded 766 counts of pollutants being discharged from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, which exceeds permissible limits.

“The Navy’s failure to properly operate and maintain this wastewater treatment plant led to the pollution of state waters,” said Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho in a statement. “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."

The agency said it also found 17 counts of unauthorized bypass and 212 counts of operation and maintenance failures.

The department said the pollutants were released from the Hawaii Wastewater Treatment Plant between January 2020 and July 2022.

News of the fine comes after the department conducted an inspection on July 26.

The agency said the Navy has 20 days to submit a request for a hearing and contest its notice of violation and order.

This isn't the first time the state's health department has run into issues with the U.S. Navy this year.

According to the Associated Press, the agency ordered the Navy to close its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility earlier this year after jet fuel leaked from a fuel storage tank into the Navy's drinking water at Pearl Harbor.