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Navy in violation for overpumping Waiawa Shaft

Red Hill water Well Shaft NOT FUEL LINE
Seaman Chris Thomas/Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet
AIEA, Hawaii (Jan. 14, 2022) - Pipes waiting for installation at the Red Hill Well Shaft. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Thomas)

In early June, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Water Resource Commission notified the U.S. Navy of a potential water-use permit violation for overpumping the Waiawa Shaft by about 2 million gallons per day.

“We're asking the Navy to respond to that by either reducing pumpage to be in compliance with the allocation, or to submit an application to modify the water-use permit to accommodate the increased reliance on Waiawa Shaft,” Ryan Imata, a hydrologic program manager with the Ground Water Regulation Branch, said earlier this week.

The pumping has been necessary to flush out the Red Hill Shaft following water contamination last year.

In a response to the notice of potential violation, the Navy asked to meet to discuss potential pumping reduction measures, which Imata said will be in the near future. Should the Navy continue to be out of compliance, that could mean a $5,000 per day fine.

“They’re saying that they did initiate water conservation measures and implemented additional measures in April to reduce the pumpage, although we haven't really seen that go down significantly,” Imata said of the Navy. Imata also said that chloride levels at Waiawa Shaft do remain stable at this time

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Commander James Sullivan said the Navy is working on various monitoring wells, but some solutions may just take time for permitting and building.

Sullivan said the Navy will continue to partner with the Honolulu Board of Water Supply and the state in ensuring there is no other contamination, and continued sampling.

Sabrina Bodon is Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter. Contact her at sbodon@hawaiipublicradio.org or 808-792-8252.
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