U.S. military bases in Hawaii dumped more than half a million pounds of nitrate compounds — toxic chemicals commonly found in wastewater treatment plants, fertilizers and explosives — into the ocean in 2019, newly released federal data shows.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam led with the release of 540,000 pounds, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Toxic Release Inventory. The rest — more than 86,000 pounds — came from the U.S. Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay.
The inventory, released last week, tracks the permitted chemical waste activities of nearly 22,000 facilities across the country. That includes 31 Hawaii facilities that meet EPA’s threshold for the amounts of chemicals released. Hawaii’s seven major wastewater plants, which also discharge waste into the ocean, are not included.