Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command

Navy Schedules Controlled Detonations at Waipio Peninsula, Oahu, Hawaii

07/06/15 12:00 AM

By Denise Emsley, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (NNS) -- The Navy has scheduled controlled detonations at a safe, secured, pre-designated location at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) Waipio Peninsula Annex to destroy military munitions recovered from past dredging activities in Pearl Harbor.

Demolition work is planned for July 7 and 8 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

"During the Navy's screening of dredged harbor material accumulated at its Confined Disposal Facility on Waipio Peninsula, various potentially explosive munitions have been recovered," said Navy Region Hawaii Environmental Program Director Aaron Poentis. "As a result, the Navy has contracted Cape Environmental Management Inc., and USA Environmental which have trained personnel to execute this type of work. Engineering controls and safety precautions will be implemented to ensure safety of personnel and protection of the environment."

At no time will the public be at risk. The project site is located within a secured area on Navy property on Waipio Peninsula. Depending on the winds and weather, the public along the Pearl Harbor waterfront at Waipahu, Ewa, Pearl City, Aiea and others may hear a series of loud noises which indicate intentional detonation actions to render the military munition items harmless.

This project previously began in April 2013. The contractor, Cape Environmental Management, Inc., screened material for munitions and some that were recovered were treated on site by controlled intentional detonations on Oct. 30, 2013. Due to lower than expected productivity, the project was temporarily suspended. After re-evaluating the process and making improvements to increase productivity, the project recently resumed in May 2015.

Types of munitions recovered from the screening of dredged material include 4.5-inch barrage rockets and/or motors, 75mm projectile, 40mm projectiles and/or casings, 20mm projectiles and/or casings, TNT demo charge, fuzes, a revolver, various small arms ammunition.

"On June 29, 2015, the State Department of Health (DOH) granted the Department of the Navy a State Emergency Hazardous Waste Permit allowing the Navy to treat the identified waste military munitions by detonation at a specific site on Waipio Peninsula," said Poentis. "The permit allows controlled hazardous waste management activities for 90 calendar days from the issuance of the permit."

A maximum of 50 detonation events will be allowed. Each controlled detonation event will use no more than 15 pounds net explosive weight. Detonation events will be conducted in accordance with the respective work plan, health and safety plan, explosives safety submission and applicable standard operating procedures.

The DOH Emergency Hazardous Waste Permit also directs a notice be placed in the local newspaper which was accomplished in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on Sunday, June 28.

Due to past historical events (e.g., Dec. 7, 1941 attack, May 1944 Landing Ship Tank explosion, suspected past disposal practices, etc.), some munitions are suspected to be in waters of Pearl Harbor. During construction and maintenance dredging, munitions have been removed along with the dredged material. Dredged material has been temporarily accumulated within earth-bermed cells on Waipio Peninsula to be dewatered, dried and screened prior to use for other beneficial purposes (e.g., soil cover for sanitary landfill, etc.).


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