Navy fined over waste handling
By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer
The Navy and one of its subcontractors have been cited by the state Department of Health for violating hazardous waste regulations at Pearl Harbor last summer.
An administrative penalty of $217,640 was leveled May 10 for the alleged violations, which involve the Navy as property owner and subcontractor Robison-Prezioso Inc.
The California-based company was hired in April 2000 to remove old paint from the exterior of four large fuel storage tanks off Kamehameha Highway.
The $19.5 million fuel-tank modernization project was awarded to Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. in December 1999, and the company subcontracted the painting portion to Robison-Prezioso, the Navy said.
The Navy said it would hold Hawaiian Dredging liable for the fine because the contractor is required to comply with all environmental laws, including hazardous waste management.
The state complaint cites four violations: treatment of hazardous waste without a permit, failure to properly mark containers, mismanagement of containers, and storage of hazardous waste without a permit. Neither Hawaiian Dredging nor Robison-Prezioso could be reached late yesterday.
Even though there was no spill, cleanup crews might not have known what they were dealing with if there had been, said Steven Chang, branch chief for the Health Department's solid and hazardous waste branch. The waste included sand-blasting materials and lead-based paint, the Navy said.
"These are serious things," Chang said.
The Navy said it suspended work last August after being notified by the Health Department of the alleged violations, and did not allow work to resume until the job was in compliance with health safety regulations.
Chang said the fine is in the "mid-range." By comparison, the University of Hawai'i was fined $1.8 million in 1997 for mismanagement of hazardous wastes on campus, he said.