GWA grants Younex conditional permit - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GWA grants Younex conditional permit

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Will military housing will be vertical or horizontal? One thing that will be needed are the skilled laborers to build them. And actions by the Guam Waterworks Authority might clear the way for Younex to move forward with their workforce housing project. GWA has come to an agreement with Younex for water and wastewater services that will be needed for the Ukudu Workforce Housing Project in Dededo.

The company's engineering consultant, Willy Flores, says they have been working with GWA for the past six months to make this a reality. "What this means now based on this phase permit condition agreement that we have is that we can actually go ahead and finalize our building application permit for 500 workers," Flores explained.

"We know that there are still a lot of challenges ahead in terms of meeting our timeline now but of course we are relieved it's an agreement that turned out to be a win-win for both parties," he added.

GWA acting general manager John Benavente says the plan is to work out the permits in phases, which they believe will result in a positive outcome for the utility company. He says Younex will construct new tanks and off site facilities, which will eventually be turned over to GWA. "As the water capacity is put on and the wastewater treatment capacity is increased then we can sign off on Phase 2, 3 and 4 all the way up to 14,000 units as it may depend," he said.

This agreement also addresses concerns from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Guam EPA. You may recall Guam EPA issued a notice of violation against Younex last year which ordered all water and wastewater projects for the workforce housing development to cease and desist.

While Guam EPA officials were not immediately available for comment today, both Flores and Benavente feel the agreement has deemed the NOV moot, as residential services will not be negatively impacted. "We've stated that we have not done anything that merits the violation and that's where we stand right now," said Flores, with Benavente adding, "I hope USEPA is satisfied with it however we are certainly willing to sit down and explain to them the whole concept of how we put this together."

"By us all working together over the next year, I think we'll be at the point where this is not an issue anymore."

Flores says this agreement was a critical part of the process. He adds that its important the housing be developed in the this area, because  its adjacent to where most of the military buildup construction is expected to take place. Benavente says Younex will be required to provide water production of about 2 million gallons daily at a cost of about $12 million.

While GWA has granted this conditional permit for the project, Benavente does point out that the final approval will be given from the Department of Public Works.

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