Pearl Harbor Wastewater Line Break Results in Spill

March 4, 2009
Estimated 2,000-gal spill occurred near Merry Point Landing

The Navy at Pearl Harbor experienced an estimated 2,000-gal wastewater spill on base near Merry Point Landing due to a 4-in. wastewater line break on the morning of March 3. The spill entered the local storm drain leading to the waters of Pearl Harbor.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii wastewater rovers came upon the Merry Point Landing area at approximately 12:30 a.m. and immediately reported the spill. They initiated temporary action to control the situation by shutting down the pumps at the area’s lift station wet well, stopping the spill. From 12:30 a.m. until a bypass line was completed at 5:30 a.m., the workers stopped and started the pumps as necessary, minimizing and controlling any wastewater release.

Wastewater crewmembers excavated the area, uncovering a broken 4-in. line leading from the ship wastewater collection system, which moves sewage from ships and submarines tied up along the piers from Merry Point landing to Fleet Industrial Supply Center, Pearl Harbor. Due to the time of the break, the ship collection system load is usually extremely low flow and contributed to the smaller amount spilled from the break into the storm drain and reaching the harbor.

Warning signs were immediately posted along Merry Point Landing area. The impacted areas are within the secured Department of Defense fence line, and since this particular area of the harbor is not normally used or swimming, human exposure to the impacted water body is not anticipated. Port Operations and Navy diving crews were alerted to the incident.

Water samples will continue to be taken until there is no further evidence of this wastewater spill. Warning signs will remain posted until analytical results indicate that the nearby harbor water has returned to background conditions. The area around the spill and storm drain area will be cleaned and sanitized once the line and roadwork is secured. Environmental impacts are expected to be minimal.

Source: Naval Facilities Engineering Command