Navy Agrees to Reduce Copper Discharges into Puget Sound

Under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) is required to take action to reduce the amount of copper in its wastewater and comply with its federal Clean Water Act permit requirements. According to the Navy's own discharge reports, from May 2003 to July 2008, PSNS frequently violated its federal wastewater permit by discharging copper in excess of allowable levels. The shipyard's wastewater is discharged into Sinclair Inlet.

PSNS is the largest naval shipyard on the west coast. According to EPA, the copper in its wastewater comes from sandblasting and painting of vessels in dry dock at the shipyard. The shipyard is allowed to discharge its wastewater into Sinclair Inlet, but only if it complies with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by EPA.

Edward Kowalski, EPA's regional head of Compliance and Enforcement, said federal facilities must do their part to protect Puget Sound, just like everyone else. "The health of Puget Sound depends on everyone doing their part, beginning with complying with their permits," Kowalski said. "Under this agreement, the Navy has committed to coming into compliance and bringing their copper levels down. They are complying with the Clean Water Act and doing the right thing for Puget Sound."

According to EPA, the Navy already has begun taking action to lessen the copper in the wastewater from PSNS including:

  • Increasing the effectiveness of their process water collection system;
  • Upgrading their sewer system;
  • Improving control of on-going sources of copper to the waste water (reducing paint overspray); and
  • Improving their dry dock cleaning processes.

As a result of this work, the Navy reports it has been in compliance with its current discharge permit for the past several months. In addition, over the past few years, PSNS has been working with other federal, state, and local agencies to better understand and reduce sources of fecal coliform in Puget Sound. As a result of this work, the agencies have been able to reopen several shellfish beds in the area.

EPA is in the process of updating the shipyard's NPDES permit. A draft permit is expected to be available this summer and a final permit issued by the end of the year.

Download Center

  • Industrial Premium Library

    Empower your workforce with the manufacturing, industrial maintenance, operations, HSE, compliance, and professional development skills they need to complete their tasks efficiently and safely. Not only will you boost productivity, reliability, skills, and morale but you’ll also onboard faster, and retain your best employees while meeting regulatory standards. Vector Solutions offers over 1,800 award-winning eLearning courses designed to keep your employees safe, transfer knowledge of fundamentals, and develop industry and job-specific skills that reduce downtime, maintenance costs and more.

  • Safety Metrics & Insights Webinar

    EHS professionals have been tackling the subject of how to best measure performance for many years. Lagging indicators like the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Days Away Restricted Transfer Rate (DART) are a good place to start, but you shouldn’t forget about the leading indicators that your workforce does every day to prevent incidents from occurring. Learn about some of the most common KPIs of safety programs and how Vector EHS Management software can be used to track these metrics in this webinar.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively. Download this guide for details on risk matrix calculations including severity, probability, and risk assessment.

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2022

    September 2022

    Featuring:

    • ESG
      EHS Will Guide Future ESG Success for Many Organizations
    • MACHINE GUARDING
      Handling Material Handlers: Training Beyond PIT Requirements
    • EHS SOFTWARE
      The Missing Link with EHS Software
    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Noise Surveys from the Trenches
    View This Issue