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Navy/EPA Sign Environmental Agreement

Release Date: 2/17/2000
Contact Information: LeRoy Loiselle
(206) 553-6901

February 17, 2000 99-009

The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) in Bremerton, Washington, has entered into a compliance agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address a chronic problem of copper discharges into Puget Sound’s Sinclair Inlet, beyond what is allowed under its water discharge permit. The compliance agreement outlines the steps the Navy will take to meet the conditions of its permit and remain in compliance.

As the largest naval shipyard on the west coast, PSNS is allowed to discharge wastewater directly into Sinclair Inlet, but only if it meets the EPA-specified permit conditions. Discharge monitoring reports from 1997 to 1999 show the amount of copper released from PSNS frequently exceeded the permitted levels. Some of the copper in the wastewater comes from dry-blasting paint from naval vessels.

According to Bub Loiselle, manager of EPA’s water compliance unit in Seattle, the Navy has already taken some steps to address the copper discharges, but more needs to be done.

“It’s a matter of fairness and doing the right thing,” Loiselle said, “Private businesses spend hard-earned money to comply with their permits. The Navy has the same responsibility to keep local waters clean and must take the steps necessary to do so. This agreement shows that they are serious about their environmental responsibilities.”

Under the compliance agreement, the Navy will develop and implement procedures for reducing the amount of copper discharges into Sinclair Inlet including conducting dry-blasting within contained enclosures and operating a collection and treatment system for the wastewater from the dry docks.
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