Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
Pearl Harbor Naval Complex
EPA #: HI4170090076
City: Pearl Harbor
Congressional District: 01
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Description and History
NPL Listing History
NPL Status: Final
Proposed Date: 07/29/91
Final Date: 10/14/92
The Pearl Harbor Naval Complex (PHNC) encompasses approximately 12,600 acres of land and water. The PHNC is not a government entity but a geographic area. Pearl Harbor Naval Complex is an active military facility.
The Harbor itself is an important component of this NPL site. The Harbor can be divided geographically into four lochs: West, Middle, South and South East. These lochs provide an estuarine environment bordered by wetlands and marsh habitat. Eight perennial and intermittent streams (Honouliuli, Aiea, Waikele, Waiawa, Waiau, Waimal, Kaalauao and Halawa) drain surface water from seven watersheds before discharging into the harbor.
Contaminants and Risks
- Surface Water
- Soil and Sludges
- Environmentally Sensitive Area
Soil, groundwater and sediment are contaminated with metals, organic compounds and petroleum hydrocarbons. There is a potential human health and ecological risk with contact or accidental ingestion with the contaminated media
Who is Involved
This site is being addressed by the U.S. Navy, with U.S. EPA and Hawaii DOH oversight. A Federal Facility Agreement was signed by the Navy, U.S. EPA and the State of Hawaii DOH in 1994.
Investigation and Cleanup Activities
To facilitate cleanup at PHNC, the site was divided into 18 Geographic Study Areas (GSAs):
- Halawa- Main Gate
- Naval Shipyard
- Ford Island
- PWC Main Complex
- Pearl City Peninsula
- Makalapa Crater
- Ewa Junction
- Waipio Peninsula
- Bishop Point
- Naval Housing
- Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Office
- Harbor Sediments
- Aiea Laundry
- Manana Storage
- Pearl City Junction
- West Loch
- Red Hill
To date, one of these GSAs, Manana Storage, has been fully remediated with a Record of Decision signed in 2006. In addition, three of the GSAs, Red Hill, Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Office, and Ewa Junction are considered petroleum only and have been deferred to the State of Hawaii for cleanup oversight. The overall site was initially addressed in two stages: 1) early actions and 2) the remedial process focusing on accelerated cleanup by presumptive remedies and removal actions. Sites are prioritized as High, Medium or Low Risk. Now that a majority of the high priority risks have been addressed through the removal authority, the site is transitioning from removals to the more traditional remedial process.
Pearl Harbor Geographic Study Areas
Halawa - Main Gate: The Site Summary Report (SSR) was completed in 2003. Out of 1,005 facilities analyzed, 179 were recommended for further action. A follow up Transformer Site Investigation (SI) Report, completed in 2003, recommended 40 out of 88 transformer sites for further action.
Sites of interest:
RAA 11 and 12: As a part of the monitoring for the Subsurface Fuel Investigation, two areas within the Halawa GSA, known as Remedial Action Areas 11 and 12, were recommended for remedial action under CERCLA due to elevated concentrations of VOCs in groundwater. Field work is currently underway to define the nature and extent of VOC contamination in groundwater at this site.
Shipyard: The SSR was completed in 2005. Out of 1,108 facilities analyzed, 229 were recommended for further action. A follow up 2003 Transformer SI Report subsequently recommended no further action for 73 of the 136 transformer sites.
Sites of Interest:
Building 6 (Foundry): Building 6, the Foundry, is unique because it contains unpaved areas inside the building creating an “indoor” interface with “outdoor” environmental contamination The COCs are mainly metals and PAHs; sources of contamination inside the building may include a furnace that was stored on one of these unpaved areas along with foundry activities. A ROD is in place.
Building 394: This site consisted of an open-air “battery” shop facility used to clean, disassemble and restore lead-sulfuric acid batteries. The first RI, which was completed in 1995, concluded that lead was the primary concern at this site. A removal action was initiated in 1995 in order to control dust migration and remove an underground storage tank (UST), two above ground storage tanks (AST), and the pipes associated with the tanks. In 1997, an EE/CA report was finalized. The Navy is currently preparing a remedial design package to implement a new time critical removal action, which will contain remaining contamination at the site.
Ford Island: The SSR was completed in Aug 2000; it recommended further action for 164 of the 674 facilities that were evaluated. The 2003 Remedial Investigation (RI) for this GSA recommended further action for 30 out of the 64 sites that were evaluated.
Sites of interest:
Ford Island Landfill: A removal action to cover the landfill with a permeable cap and develop a containment system was conducted in 1997. This removal action followed the presumptive remedy for landfills. There is a ROD in place and the landfill is currently being monitored on a semi-annual basis.
Building 284 Slope Site: The Building 284 Slope Site is a shoreline area of land that stretches from Building 284 to the Ford Island Landfill. Building 284 was formerly used as an aviation engine test cell facility. The soil at the site is mostly comprised of fill material (soil brought from outside sources to Ford Island.) Five USTs were removed from the area adjacent to the site in 1997. Also, in 2003, a separate removal action, for metals-contaminated soil, was conducted in the area adjacent to Building 284. A final removal action to specifically address the slope, excavation and capping, was conducted in 2006. The goal of this removal action was to excavate more metals-contaminated soil. The Focused Feasibility Study was completed in 2007, and the proposed plan for this site was issued in April 2008. Since metals in the subsurface exceed residential PRGs, the preferred alternative is land use controls to ensure that the integrity of the cap is maintained. A Record of Decision selected this remedy in Sept 2009.
Buildings 80 and 302: Former Buildings 80 and 302 were built before 1942 and demolished between 1982 and 1994. The site was used as a garage and vehicle maintenance area. In 2006, metals contaminated soil was excavated as part of a time-critical removal action. A Focused Feasibility Study was completed in 2007. The proposed plan for this site was issued in April 2008. Since metals in the subsurface exceed residential PRGs, the preferred alternative is land use controls to ensure that the integrity of the cap is maintained. A Record of Decision selected this remedy in Sept 2009.
PWC Main Complex: The SSR was completed in 2002; it recommended further action for 15 out of the 141 facilities that were evaluated. The subsequent transformer SI Report recommended further action for 2 out of 23 transformers. A focused SI for Various GSAs was completed in 2005 and recommended no further action for one additional site, Building 40. The focused SI also recommended no further action for three other sites pending confirmation of the background metals.
Sites of interest:
Makalapa Rinsate Pit: Between 1974 and 1978, the rinsate pit was used daily to wash pesticide and herbicide application equipment. The RI/FS was completed in 2008. The contaminants of concern (COCs) are pesticides, arsenic and PCBs. A proposed plan for this site was issued in 2008 and a ROD was issued in 2010. The Navy is now implementing the Remedial Action to address COCs in soil at the site.
Pearl City Peninsula: The SSR was completed in 2003; further action was recommended for 14 out of 213 facilities.
Sites of Interest:
Pearl City Fuel Annex (PCFA): The primary contaminants of concern are metals and PAHs. In 2006, the Navy conducted a treatability study to evaluate the efficacy of using phytoextraction (uptake through plant growth) to treat metals at this site. In addition, the Navy finalized a sampling report in 2008 in order to address regulatory concern related to the horizontal delineation of metals contamination at the site. In December 2008, the Navy sent a draft RI/FS work plan to the EPA and DOH for regulatory review.
Pearl City Burn Area / Landfill: The Pearl City Burn Area is located east of the Pearl City Landfill and may have received a variety of wastes generated by PHNC from 1945 to 1965. The risk at this site is currently being evaluated in a streamlined combined risk assessment with the Pearl City Landfill and Waiawa Unit. The Pearl City Peninsula Landfill operated as an official sanitary landfill from 1965 until 1976. Prior to that time period, around the mid 1940s, the landfill was used unofficially for the disposal of refuse from PHNC. Waste disposal activities reportedly included burning, landfilling, and uncontrolled dumping. The first RI for this site was conducted between 1991 and 1995. From 1996 to 1997 a Remedial Site Evaluation (RSE) was conducted to supplement the RI. An EE/CA was issued in 1998 that called for repair of the existing landfill cover, black sands area erosion control cover, soil cover at hot spot areas, a containment system for run-off, and a bridge for site access. Many of these actions are part of the presumptive remedy for landfills. The Action Memo (AM) for this removal action was issued in 1999; this AM designated the removal action as interim pending additional ecological monitoring. The Navy is in the process of completing an update to the RI.
Makalapa Crater: The SSR was completed in 2002; it recommended further action for 5 out of the 40 facilities that were evaluated. The Navy is currently preparing the RI Work Plan for this site.
West Loch: Based on the 2003 SSR, 35 out of 738 facilities were recommended for further action. The final SI for this site was completed in 2004.
Site of Interest:
Auxiliary Power Facility, Building 49: Building 49 was used to house an auxiliary generator and transformer. Prior to 1977, the transformer was filled with dielectric fluid containing PCBs. In 1999, PCB contaminated soil was removed from the front of the building. In addition, PCB contaminated soil associated with the drain and piping at the back of Building 49 were removed in 2000. During the removal action, a half-inch layer of oil was discovered. After a period of removing oil from the groundwater well in that area, the removal action was considered final in 2003. A Record of Decision (ROD) for this site was signed by the Navy, USEPA, and Hawaii DOH in September of 2006. The ROD decided that prior removal actions had adequately addressed contamination at the site, and no further action was warranted at this time.
MMRP: The Navy is implementing Site Investigations (SI) for 3 munitions related Areas of Concern. The goal of these SIs is to confirm suspected munitions related contamination or materials are present at these sites. Based on these SI reports, the Navy, EPA, and DOH will determine if more characterization is necessary.
Waipio Peninsula: The SSR was completed in 2000; it recommended further action for 24 out of the 178 facilities that were analyzed. A 2004 SI report recommended no further action for 2 out of the 5 transformer sites. The remaining three transformer sites were remediated under the Thermal Desorption Project.
Richardson: The 2002 SSR recommended further action for 17 out of the 145 facilities that were evaluated. The Focused SI for Various GSAs found that no COPCs exceeded screening criteria at the Former Rainbow Marina Fuel Pipeline Site and the site was recommended for no further action.
Sites of interest:
FLETRAGRU Fire Fighting Training Area: Gasoline, diesel fuel, waste oil, and paints were reported to have been ignited and used for fire fighting training purposes at this site from 1940 until 1976. The contaminants of concern at these sites are mainly lead, PAHs and dioxin, all products of the burning activities. The Engineering Evaluation/ Cost Analysis recommend excavation of soil "hot-spots". This removal action was completed in September 2007. A Record of Decision for this site was completed in 2010.
Naval Housing: The SSR was completed in 2002; further action was recommended for 39 out of the 817 facilities that were analyzed. An SI report was completed in 2011 and no further action was recommended.
Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Office (NISMO): The SSR for this site was completed in October 2002. This site has one jet fuel plume that is being addressed through a non-CERCLA action.
Harbor Sediments: This GSA encompasses the sediments associated with the water body known as Pearl Harbor. The site is a large complex estuary comprised of approximately 5,000 acres of surface water and 36 miles of lineal shoreline. A fish advisory was issued for Pearl Harbor in 1998. All of the contaminated sediments in the harbor are being considering in this GSA. The sediment study is currently in the RI/FS phase, with an RI Addendum Report was completed in 2012.
Aiea Laundry: The site of the Former Aiea Laundry comprises the Aiea Laundry GSA. Dry cleaning operations were conducted at this site from the early 1950s to mid 1970s. Due to the dry cleaning activities, PCE is a contaminant of concern at this site. Site investigations for this GSA were conducted in 1989 and 1991. As a result of this work, a removal action was conducted to remove 5 USTs, a subsurface floor drain system and a drainage swale area in 1993. Post-removal sampling revealed that the soil gas was contaminated with PCE as well as its degradation products including TCE, DCE, and vinyl chloride. Thus, in 1996 an interim Soil Vapor Extraction (SVE) removal action was initiated to address chlorinated solvents in the soil gas and prevent the soil gas from migrating off-site. SVE involves the extraction and treatment of soil vapors (the air in the pore spaces of the soil). The SVE system was deactivated in 1998 because soil gas concentrations at the perimeter of the site were at non-detect values. In order to remediate the solvents still contained in the on-site soil gas, the system was restarted in 2001 and subsequently deactivated in 2001. Unfortunately, although the concentrations of PCE have generally decreased, the breakdown of the PCE has caused an increase in its degradation product, vinyl chloride at the source area. In order to address this issue, the SVE system was again restarted in 2006. In 2007, the SVE system was shut off. The RI/FS for this site is currently underway and should help to support a long term remedy decision at this site for the soil vapor and groundwater. A pilot study is currently underway to test the effectiveness of a new soil vapor extraction system to contain PCE contamination.
Pearl City Junction: The Pearl City Junction GSA is comprised of the Defense Reutilization Marketing Region (DRMR). The site was used as a temporary storage area for miscellaneous DOD property from 1944 to 1984. Furthermore, from 1962 to 1984, an unpaved area of this site was reportedly used for storage of deteriorated and leaking materials, including PCB transformers. In 1993 the SI recommended removal of soil contaminated with PCB and Dieldrin. The property was transferred to the State of Hawaii in 1995 and the property has subsequently been transferred to a private party. Removal actions were conducted in 1997 and 1999 to removal PCBs and dieldrin respectively. Fuel issues at this site are being handled by the Air Force. A Focused Feasibility Study for this site was completed in 2008. A Record of Decision was completed in 2010.
Manana Storage: In 1993 the SI recommended further investigation of metals contamination in soils. Subsequently, a removal action for arsenic was conducted in 1996. Also, in 1996 the property was transferred to the State of Hawaii. No further action was recommended for the groundwater at this site based on a 2003 groundwater investigation. This site was closed through a Record of Decision in 2006.
Ewa Junction: The Ewa Junction Fuel Drumming Facility, which constitutes the Ewa Junction GSA, was constructed in 1943 as a fuel drumming and transportation facility. The facility is currently inactive. An RI was completed in 2000 and recommended no further action under CERCLA. In 2001 the EPA, State of Hawaii and Navy agreed that the petroleum at this site should be addressed under the State of Hawaii Contingency Plan.
Red Hill: The SI for this GSA was completed in 1988. The main site of interest for this GSA is the Red Hill Oil Waste Disposal Pit Site. A removal action was conducted at the oily waste pit in 1996 to remove a stilling basin and associated pipes as well as TPH contaminated soils. After a two-phased RI, which was complete in 2000, the GSA was recommended for no further action under CERCLA and is now being regulated as a petroleum site with oversight by the State of Hawaii.
Subsurface Oil: Site-wide subsurface fuel plumes are being handled through the Subsurface Fuel Investigation. GSAs involved in this investigation include the Halawa – Main Gate GSA and the Shipyard GSA. Although oil is excluded from CERCLA, this non-CERCLA cleanup is still an important part of the remedial work at Pearl Harbor. These investigations are being conducted in accordance with the Hawaii State Contingency Plan.
Various Transformer Sites: Using removal authorities PCB contaminated sites within the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex were excavated and the soil was transported to NAS Barbers Point for treatment by thermal desorption. The excavations at the various sites occurred between 1998 and 2004. The actual treatment process operated from February 2004 to August 2004. Thermal desorption involves heating the soil to the temperature at which chemicals such as PCBs will volatilize (become airborne) and separate out of the soil. The volatilized chemicals are then collected and disposed of at the appropriate waste facility. Separating the PCBs out of the soil greatly reduces the amount of waste that must be shipped off-island for disposal. Overall the project addressed 85 transformer sites at 5 installations throughout Oahu, Hawaii. In addition to PHNC, this list includes the Former Naval Air Station Barbers Point, the NAVMAG PH Lualualei Branch, the NAVMAG PH Waikele Branch, and NCTAMSPAC Wahiawa Branch. The cleaned soil was returned to the sites as backfill. Within PHNC, six GSAs had transformer sites that were addressed by this project: Halawa – Main Gate, Naval Housing, Shipyard, PWC Main Complex, Waipio Peninsula, and West Loch (includes Iroquois Point.) Due to funding issues, not all the sites originally recommended for remediation were addressed. At Halawa Main-Gate, 10 out of the 11 recommended transformer sites were remediated. At the Shipyard GSA, only 9 out of the 19 recommended sites were remediated. One out of two proposed transformer sites at the Naval Housing GSA was included in this project. All 27 of the recommended sites at Ford Island were remediated. Also, the PWC Main Complex, Waipio Peninsula, and West Loch GSAs had all their respective recommended sites remediated during this project. For the PHNC alone, a total of 54 PCB transformer sites were remediated using the thermal desorption process. Forty-five transformer sites at PHNC were closed through a Record of Decision that concluded no further action is necessary for these sites. This document was completed in September 2007.
Environmental Background Analysis: In 2006, the Navy, U.S. EPA and Hawaii DOH finalized the Background Data Analysis for Navy Oahu Facilities, Oahu, Hawaii. This document established background levels for metals in all four of the major soil groups found in Oahu. This document was an important step for the cleanup process at Pearl Harbor because it established background ranges that both the Navy and the regulatory agencies could all agree upon. These background numbers are significant because it will help determine Navy contaminant contributions to the environment.
Pearl Harbor Naval Complex is participating in the Installation Restoration Program (IRP), a specially funded program established by the Department of Defense (DOD) in 1978 to identify, investigate, and control the migration of hazardous contaminants at military and other DOD facilities. The Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) was signed by all parties in March 1994, and was effective as of June 10, 1994 in accordance with Section 36 of the FFA.
Cleanup Results to Date
Preliminary investigations have indicated that no immediate threats currently exist at the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex site while further investigations into the nature and extent of site contamination are underway.
Potentially Responsible Parties
Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.
Online information about the PRPs for the site is not yet available.
Documents and Reports
Public Information Repositories
The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:
A number of final documents related to Pearl Harbor Naval Complex are available at the Aiea Public Library and the Pearl City Public Library.
EPA Site Manager
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
400 Marshall Road,
Building X-11, Code EV4
Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3139
After Hours (Emergency Response)