EPA to meet with CCU/GWA/DoD - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

EPA to meet with CCU/GWA/DoD

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by Janjeera Hail

Guam - The Consolidated Commission on Utilities may be meeting this evening on issues involving the Guam Power Authority, but later this week they'll be meeting with a delegation of federal officials to discuss the latest with the military buildup and the island's infrastructure needs.  Representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are on Guam, meeting with the Guam Waterworks Authority later this week to discuss the technical aspects of upgrading the island's wastewater treatment centers.

On Thursday, they'll meet with the CCU and the Department of Defense to discuss financing improvements to the Hagatna and Northern wastewater treatment plants. CCU Chairman Simon Sanchez says that altogether, the USEPA believes $1.3 billion is necessary to bring the island's water system to where it needs to be.

"We're meeting with the DoD and [Joint Guam Program Office Forward Director David] Bice to talk specifically about how $1.3 billion is going to be made available and how does that affect the timing of the buildup. Those meetings are this week and then next week we'll continue to have meetings with Department of Defense and officials with the government of Japan," he explained.

A big part of those discussions will focus on how DoD will come up with that money. 

The USEPA has stated that mitigation efforts for the buildup must be implemented to avoid negative impacts to health and the environment.  USEPA's Jared Blumenfeld writing that the DoD must commit to seeking funding for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, manage construction and the arrival of military personnel through adaptive program management and undertake an additional assessment of coral at Apra Harbor.

Talks will continue next week with Japanese government officials as Japan has already agreed to make $740 million available for infrastructure needs.  "No existing ratepayers no future ratepayers of ours will have to pay back the $740 million; this will be an obligation of the Department of Defense.  Now they may flow the Layon through GWA and then we would have it all paid by DoD those kinds of things are still being discussed and evaluated," he said.

And speaking of the military buildup, JGPO's Bice will be the guest speaker at this Thursday's Rotary Club meeting at the Marriott Resort in Tumon.

In the meantime, the final Record of Decision for the military buildup is expected to be released next week Monday.  The release of the ROD will allow more than $700 million in construction projects related to the buildup to begin.

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