Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Navy calls hazardous
waste fine severe

The Navy has asked the state Health Department for a hearing to dispute the severity of three hazardous waste violations that led to a $81,000 fine.

The three hazardous waste violations occurred at Pearl Harbor during the past two years.

Steven Chang, chief of the Department of Health's solid and hazardous waste branch, said yesterday that the Navy has verbally asked for the hearing and has until Aug. 26 to put the request in writing.

The violations were for allegedly improper disposal of paint thinners used to clean air filters used in painting booths; mismanaging the collection and disposal of hazardous waste materials stored in 55-gallon drums; and failing to correctly label containers holding hazardous waste materials.

The alleged violations were discovered during Health Department inspections in the summer of 2002 and May 2003.

The citations, the third set in three years, were issued Aug. 3.

Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a Navy spokesman, said Pearl Harbor officials agree "there were discrepancies, but take issue with the severity of the discrepancies."

"There was no harm to the environment," Davis said, "nor was there any threat to human health."

Davis said the "Navy doesn't want to trivialize the matter because we take our environmental stewardship seriously."

Some of the issues deal with the different way the state and the Navy label canisters, Davis said.

The matter dealing with paint thinner found on discarded air filters was "a very small amount -- 2 ounces -- about what can be found on a small rag."

Once the Health Department reported the violations, Davis said the Navy "not only just cleared the discrepancies, but trained its people to prevent further issues from arising."

State Department of Health
Naval Station Pearl Harbor


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