Department of Health fines Marine Corps for fecal bacteria discharge at Kaneohe

After multiple spills of fecal bacteria in Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii is facing a $240,250 fine, the Hawaii Department of Health announced Wednesday.

The Marine Corps released more than the allowable amount of fecal bacteria into the waters around its Kaneohe facility. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2017

The Marine Corps operates the Kaneohe Bay Water Reclamation Facility, which discharges treated sewage into the nearby ocean. Between August 2020 and February 2022, on “numerous occasions”, the Marine Corps discharged enterococci bacteria, an indicator of human fecal contamination, above the limit allowed by its permit, the DOH said in a release. hurry.

“The Marine Corps also did not notify the DOH of the overruns in a timely manner,” the DOH said.

In addition to the fine, the Marine Corps will have to take corrective action to upgrade its wastewater treatment system to include “final effluent disinfection,” the DOH said. The Marine Corps is required to submit its upgrade plan to the DOH for review and approval, according to the DOH.

“The Marine Corps’ actions demonstrate a disregard for the protection of our precious ocean waters,” Hawaii Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho said in a statement. “We will continue to hold offenders accountable and protect public health and the environment.”

According to the DOH, the Marine Corps intends to challenge its Notice of Violation in a contested proceeding.

“A court date is pending,” the DOH said.