EPA and Hawaii shipyard reach agreement on stormwater discharge

Written by Nick Blenkey
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OCTOBER 2, 2018 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached an agreement with Hawaii’s Keehi Marine, Inc. to reduce pollution in its stormwater discharges to Keehi Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean.

“Ship repair facilities must have stormwater pollution controls in place to protect coastal waters and coral reefs,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “We are pleased the company has already begun work to improve their operations and prevent pollution — actions that will help improve Oahu’s water quality.”

By November, the Honolulu shipyard must ensure that discharges of copper, lead, zinc, and other pollutants meet the requirements of its state stormwater discharge permit. Keehi Marine will also develop an updated stormwater pollution control plan, conduct additional sampling and monitoring, and submit a final report to EPA once all requirements of the administrative order have been completed.

Based on a tip from the public, EPA performed an inspection in April 2017 at Keehi Marine and found:

]Accumulation of fine sediment and debris without controls that prevent stormwater and associated debris from entering stormwater discharges and flowing into Keehi Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean;

Evidence of recent flooding at a covered work area indicating pollutants had washed offsite; and

From September 2016 to December 2017, the facility reported five incidents in which stormwater monitoring results showed copper, lead and zinc were discharged above permit limits.

The EPA notes that many industrial operations, such as material handling and storage and equipment maintenance and cleaning, occur outside. Rainfall runoff flowing through such facilities can pick up pollutants and transport them directly to nearby waterways and degrade water quality. Federal regulations require facilities to obtain discharge permits, implement stormwater best management practices, and follow a stormwater pollution control plan.

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