HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii State Department of Health on Tuesday announced that it is issuing a Notice of Violation and Order to the U.S. Navy to address “a myriad of deficiencies” at the NAVFAC Hawaii Wastewater Treatment Plant near Pearl Harbor.

DOH is issuing a fine totaling more than $8.7 million due to a list of violations, including numerous operation and maintenance issues that led to repeated discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage to state waters. Click here to read the full report.

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

DOH said the penalty is based on 766 counts of discharging pollutants in exceedance of permit limits, 17 counts of unauthorized bypass and 212 counts of operation and maintenance failures. The Navy has been ordered to take a wide range of corrective actions to address these critical violations.

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

Corrective actions include:

  • 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

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The Navy may submit a request for a hearing and contest the NOVO within 20 days of its receipt.

KHON2 is waiting on the Navy’s response.