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Help coming to Agat, Santa Rita

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by Heather Hauswirth

Guam - When it rains in Agat and Santa Rita residents say it becomes quite a disgusting situation as manholes constantly overflow, spewing raw sewage all over the roads.  The Department of the Interior today, with the help of former Agat resident Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta, awarded $250,000 that will make much needed upgrades to the Chaligan Sewage Pump Station.

Originally from Chuuk, Dasa Aguon has been a resident of Agat for the last seventeen years. And like many southern residents, so often at the mercy of Mother Nature, when there is a flood, she has to clean up the mess.  "When its raining and I use my toilet, it's hard to flush, it's very slow...I talk to my landlord. I don't know, come and help me, we look for maintenance," she said.

It's a similar situation for many residents in the south as Agat Mayor Carol Tayama can attest to, as the $250,000 grant from DOI will help flood proof the Chaligan Sewage Pump Station.  "This is a big boost for the village of Agat and Santa Rita to alleviate some of our flooding problems and of course the backup," she said.

According to the Agat mayor, sewage problems have always been abundant.  And the money couldn't come at a better time, before a natural disaster hits, as the improvements could result in Guam being removed from FEMA's probation status that currently prevents the island from FEMA pre-disaster assistance.  "If there was any future disaster, major disaster in Guam we would be unable to be given any FEMA assistance because the treatment plant the Chaligan Sewage does not meet the requirements of flooding," she said.

Guam Waterworks Authority Spokesperson Heidi Ballendorf says the agency is hopeful today's announcement of federal funding will be the first of more to come as crews already began work on the Agat sewer line project. "I anticipate that during the rainy season some of the residents of Agat, not all - just a portion of what we call Old Agat Town - all their sewer lines are being moved to the easement and are going to be moved to the easement and that work has been ongoing," she explained.

As residents of Santa Rita and Agat will attest, the much-needed improvements that will be made to the Chaligan Sewage Pump Station will make a world of difference for everyone.

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