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Navy: Leeward residents may hear explosions from detonations

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Residents along the Pearl Harbor waterfront at Waipahu, Ewa, Pearl City, and Aiea may hear a series of explosions Tuesday when the Navy plan to destroy military munitions recovered from past dredging activities in Pearl Harbor.

The Navy is authorized up to 50 detonations at a secure location on the Waipio peninsula under a permit granted by the state Department of Health, a Navy statement said.

Demolition work is planned between 8 a.m., to 5 p.m. July 7.

The types of munitions that will be destroyed 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.

“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.”

Some munitions are suspected to come from the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack and the 1944 explosion of landing ships docked in the 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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