Hawaii fines US Navy for unauthorized sewage release

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Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. untreated / ʌnˈtri tɪd / (adj.) – used to describe something that has a harmful effect because it isn’t cleaned using a safe chemical or substance

    It’s not safe to drink untreated water.

  2. partially / ˈpɑr ʃə li / (adv.) – not completely

    The wildfire has partially destroyed the forest.

  3. accountable / əˈkaʊn tə bəl / (adj.) – responsible for something

    The drunk driver is held accountable to pay for all the damage he caused.

  4. catastrophic / ˌkæt əˈstrɒf ɪk / (adj.) – causing too much harm or damage

    Air, land, and water pollution will surely have catastrophic consequences if not controlled.

  5. deficiency / dɪˈfɪʃ ən si / (n.) – a weakness or lack that someone or something has

    This hacking incident reveals our cybersecurity deficiency.


Read the text below.

The Hawaii Department of Health said it has fined the U.S. Navy $8.8 million for repeatedly discharging untreated or partially treated sewage into state waters from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The department said in a news release that it recorded 766 counts of the Navy discharging pollutants in excess of limits established by a permit.

The pollutants were released between January 2020 and July 2022 from the Hawaii Wastewater Treatment Plant operated by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the department said.

The agency also found 212 counts of operation and maintenance failures.

“The Navy’s failure to properly operate and maintain this wastewater treatment plant led to the pollution of state waters,” said Kathleen Ho, the department’s deputy director of environmental health, in a statement. “We are taking action to protect our state’s water resources and to hold the Navy accountable to make critical repairs and prevent a potential catastrophic failure of the facility.”

Navy Region Hawaii said the Navy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed in June 2021 to address deficiencies with the treatment plant. The Navy is on track to meet these obligations, which may also address some of the issues pointed out by Hawaii’s Department of Health, it said.

The Navy continues to improve operations at the plant and it remains operational, it said.

Separately, the department earlier this year ordered the Navy to shut down its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility after jet fuel leaked from a pipe into the Navy’s drinking water at Pearl Harbor. The military has set up a task force to drain fuel from Red Hill’s massive storage tanks by July 2024.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The Hawaii Department of Health has fined the U.S. Navy for polluting state waters. What message does this action show the citizens of Hawaii (ex. the government is serious about protecting water resources, citizens should also protect water resources)? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what other penalties should be given to people who are causing harm to water resources (ex. community service, imprisonment)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • In your opinion, what possible problems will arise if water resources continue to be polluted? Discuss.
  • What specific actions should a person do to protect water resources? Discuss.