DOH Fines $8.7 Million, Orders Navy to Perform Critical Repairs to Pearl Harbor Remediation Plan

September 27, 2022, 2:39 p.m. HST

The Hawaii Department of Health has issued a notice of violation and an order to the United States Navy to address myriad deficiencies at the NAVFAC Hawaiʻi sewage treatment plant near Pearl Harbor.

“Numerous operations and maintenance issues have resulted in repeated discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage into state waters,” DOH officials said in a news release today.

The DOH assessed a fine of $8,776,250 based on 766 counts of alleged release of pollutants in excess of permit limits, 17 counts of unauthorized bypass, and 212 counts of operation and maintenance failures.

The DOH orders corrective actions to remedy what it calls “critical violations.”


“The Navy’s failure to properly operate and maintain this sewage treatment plant has resulted in the pollution of state waters,” said Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho. to protect our state’s water resources and to hold the Navy accountable to make critical repairs and prevent potential catastrophic failure of the facility.”

The alleged violations include:

  • Discharge of effluent that exceeded limits for enterococci and other contaminants
  • Unauthorized bypass of sand filters due to a bypass valve being left open
  • Unauthorized bypass of sand filters due to improper operation and maintenance
  • Lack of operation and maintenance of treatment units by aeration basin
  • Failure to use and maintain sand filter bypass valve
  • Failure to operate and maintain ultraviolet disinfection systems
  • Failure to operate and maintain critical final effluent pumps

The DOH directs the Navy to take a wide range of corrective actions, including:

  • Assess installation status and repair issues/items identified during assessment
  • Repair ultraviolet disinfection system to ensure adequate backup capabilities
  • Identify and eliminate all preventive and corrective maintenance backlogs
  • Exercise all valves to ensure full functionality
  • Conduct structural integrity assessment of aeration basins and complete repairs
  • Obtain root cause analysis of recent effluent pump failures
  • Review and implement an updated Operation and Maintenance Plan based on an assessment and plan developed to optimize the facility’s operation and process control protocols

The Navy can submit a request for a hearing and challenge the NOVO within 20 days of receiving it.

Click here to download a copy of NOVO.

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