DOH issues $8.7M fine, orders Navy to make critical repairs to Pearl Harbor wastewater plan
The Hawaiʻi Department of Health issued a Notice of Violation and Order to the United States Navy to address a myriad of deficiencies at the NAVFAC Hawaiʻi Wastewater Treatment Plant near Pearl Harbor.
“Numerous operation and maintenance issues led to repeated discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage to state waters,” state DOH officials said in a press release today.
DOH assessed an $8,776,250 penalty based on 766 counts of alleged discharge of pollutants in exceedance of permit limits, 17 counts of unauthorized bypass, and 212 counts of operation and maintenance failures.
DOH is ordering corrective actions to address what it calls “critical violations.”
“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. “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.”
Alleged violations include:
- Discharging effluent that exceeded Enterococci and other contaminant limits
- Unauthorized bypass of sand filters due to leaving a bypass valve open
- Unauthorized bypass of sand filters due to poor operation and maintenance
- Failure to operate and maintain aeration basin treatment units
- Failure to operate and maintain sand filter bypass valve
- Failure to operate and maintain ultraviolet disinfection systems
- Failure to operate and maintain critical final effluent pumps
DOH is ordering the Navy to take a wide range of corrective actions, including:
- Assessing the condition of the facility and repairing issues/items identified from the assessment
- Repairing the ultraviolet disinfection system to ensure adequate backup capabilities
- Identifying and clearing all backlogged preventive and corrective maintenance
- Exercising all valves to ensure full functionality
- Conducting a structural integrity assessment of the aeration basins and completing repairs
- Obtaining a root cause analysis for recent effluent pump failures
- Revising and implementing an updated operations and maintenance plan based on an assessment and plan developed to optimize operations and process control protocols for the facility
The Navy may submit a request for a hearing and contest the NOVO within 20 days of its receipt.