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Hawaiʻi DOH Slams US Navy With $325K in Fines Over Environmental Violations

October 28, 2021, 3:30 PM HST
* Updated October 28, 3:08 PM
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The Hawaiʻi Department of Health Environmental Health Administration issued Notice of Violation and Order (NOVO) to the U.S. Navy for violations related to operation and maintenance of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility on O´ahu.

The violations were discovered during a routine DOH compliance inspection that took place from Sept. 28, 2020, through Oct. 9, 2020. The NOVO consists of five counts with a total penalty in the amount of $325,182.

DOH regulates underground storage tank (UST) systems in Hawaiʻi, authorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to run an approved state program since 2002.

In 2015, EPA strengthened its regulations governing the operation and maintenance of UST systems. These updates also brought UST systems with field-constructed tanks under full regulation for the first time. In 2018, in accordance with federal rules for state program approval, DOH adopted EPA’s updates and additional requirements to make the state rules more environmentally protective.

“The state’s effort to strengthen regulations around inspection and monitoring was critical to identifying these violations and ensuring that underground storage tanks are maintained safely,” said Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho.

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The inspection that began on Sept. 28, 2020, was the first inspection of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility UST system conducted under the new rules.

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The five counts in the NOVO are:

  • Failure to operate and maintain ongoing corrosion protection to metal components of the portion of the Navy’s tank and piping that contain regulated substances and are in contact with the ground. This violation resulted in a $30,000 penalty.
  • Failure to perform line tightness testing of repaired piping before return to service resulted in a $179,982 penalty.
  • Failure to perform an annual liquid tightness test on spill prevention equipment to prevent releases to the environment. This resulted in a penalty of $22,950.
  • Failure to perform an adequate visual walkthrough inspection of hydrant pits, resulting in a penalty of $2,250.
  • Failure to maintain adequate release detection for two double-walled underground product recovery storage tanks. This penalty amounted to $90,000.

The Navy has been directed to come into compliance as detailed in the Order. The Navy may submit a request for a hearing and contest the NOVO within 20 days of its receipt.

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