GEPA shutting down illegal Mongmong dump - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GEPA shutting down illegal Mongmong dump

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - There's bad news for one business in the village of Mongmong. On Thursday KUAM News broke the story that the Guam Environmental Protection Agency found an illegal dump on Lujan's Towing and Auto Parts property. The agency returned to the site today to continue inspections on what they call a "sizable dump" right under the noses of nearby residents.

Ordered to investigate possible dumps within a three mile radius of the Ordot Dump by District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood, the Guam EPA zoomed in on a junkyard owned by Joe Lujan in the central village of Mongmong. During Thursday's Guam EPA board meeting, inspector Roland Gutierrez told members what they discovered. "From what we could see from over the side it was mostly waste that would come from demolitions and household items we didn't see much garbage but that only on the perimeter rim that we could see," he said.

When the EPA came out to Lujan's, they were denied access it wasn't until they threatened to call the police that they were finally allowed in to conduct their investigation - an investigation that turned up an illegal dump that inspectors say measure about 400' wide and 60' deep. They say Lujan's was trying to keep the Guam EPA at bay in order to buy time to cover up the waste.

Gutierrez told board members they saw trucks filled with fresh coral they believed was being used to bury the trash. The EPA returned today for a further inspection KUAM News tagged along, but didn't get further than the front office.

Mongmong-Toto-Maite mayor Andrew Villagomez reacted to the discovery by the PEA by saying, "I was really surprised because I go down there but you know you don't see these things around there, there is pile of debris all over the place, so I'm pretty surprised." When told that the receiver's offices says they spotted trucks from the Mayor's Office at the dump site, Villagomez said, "Well, sometimes we would have some scrap metal to give to Joe."

We spoke with Gutierrez as he left the site after today's re-inspection, who said, "What we did today was we wanted to get the actual size so we came out and measured it and got the feet we measured from south to north and east to west to get the size so we can approximate the amount of material in there and we can approximate the amount of leachate to come out of it." Asked about the volume of each, he replied, "I can't really tell you that right now because the report is not finalized but as soon as it is we will be sure to provide you a copy."

But in his report to the board Thursday, Gutierrez said they found as many as fifty 55-gallon drums of oil at the dump site. He was unable to provide insight on what an idea of what type of NOVs he might be issuing, he responded by stating, "Actually I can't, because it's pending and the decision is up to the administrator on what penalties they will assess and what violations the violated."

Guam EPA administrator Ivan Quinata said, "The fact is they don't have a hardfill permit and that essentially is a notice of violation, so that would be one of the NOVs that would be considered."

And while it appears to be business as usual at Lujan's today, that may not continue for long. Quinata adds the business will be issued a stop work order on any further operations to be include with the pending NOVs. As ordered by the federal judge, the Guam EPA filed a report of their inspection with the District Court, but plan to file an additional report next week.

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