EPA ordered to investigate dump - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

EPA ordered to investigate dump

by Lannie Walker

Guam - It's an issue Guam is all too familiar with: illegal dumps. While the owner of an illegal dump in Yigo is still in negotiations with the Attorney General's Office to determine what repercussions his is facing for operating the dump, which caught fire several times last year. Another site is now at the center of a pending investigation by Guam Environmental Protection Agency.

The Guam EPA is now under orders to investigate an illegal dumping site on the on the property of Lujan Auto Junkyard. In a special report from the federal receiver Gershman Brickner & Bratton, the federal court ordered the Guam Environmental Protection Agency to investigate dump sites within a three-mile radius of the Ordot Dump in order to identify potential other sources of leachate and groundwater contamination.

When KUAM News spoke to Guam EPA Administrator Ivan Quinata Tuesday, he said he was not yet aware of the order that came out on May 26, but did say how the agency typically handles such cases. "What the agency does is normally start an investigation to make a determination of what waste is being dumped at the site and whether or not they have an operating permit to conduct that kind of activity. And then we would go in an speak to the operators to find out what exactly they are conducting what kind of activities they are doing," he explained.

According to the report, large trucks were observed delivering a variety of trash including junk vehicles, white goods, and construction debris. Quinata says the company was cited with a notice of violation about a decade ago, noting, "There was a fire there after the fire then they started to conduct a cleanup of the site they have not been issued another operating permit since then because there are still I believe there are some pending action items with that NOV."

When KUAM News visited Lujan's this week, the employees we spoke with claimed they did not know of any dumpsite located on the property. We were told the owner, Joe Lujan, was not available. Mongmong-Toto-Maite mayor Andrew Villagomez says he is surprised by the recent news because he believed Lujan had worked out an agreement with GEPA to clean up the site. Mayor Villagomez said he does have concerns if dumping is still going on and plans to talk with the owner and see how his office can help with the clean up.

But first under the order GEPA must return to the site and to any other dumping grounds in the area to determine if the dump sites comply with local laws and regulation, who is responsible for the sites, and how the dumps may complicate mitigation assessments to close Ordot.

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