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Receiver says GRRP needs more fact-checking

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Guam Waterworks Authority and the federal receiver want to clear the record and say there is no reason for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. Guam Resource Recovery Partners had requested a federal probe as they allege liquid pollutant or leachate from the Layon Landfill is being discharged into the ocean.

The receiver says GRRP needs to do some more fact-checking.

"As a former U.S. president said, 'Here they go again!',' stated federal receiver Gershman, Brickner & Bratton's Chace Anderson says he isn't surprised by the recent actions of GRRP. He added, "There's no truth to this whatsoever!"

GWA spokesperson Heidi Ballendorf agrees, noting, "We say, 'Let's all sit down and talk about it before it gets to a point where it's counterproductive to the community.'"

The two entities want to clear the record today following Guam Resource Recovery Partners' call to the DOJ for an investigation.  The company contends that leachate from the new landfill in Dandan has been directed to the Inarajan Waste Water Treatment Plant that discharges into the ocean.  According to GRRP's letter, EA Engineering, Science & Technology conducted testing in two years ago, discharging 30,000 gallons of potable water mixed with food dye to the surface of the northernmost percolation beds.

GRRP contends that four days later, that same dye was found emerging into the ocean at two locations outside the tidal reef. Ballendorf said, "I'd like someone to send me that e-mail because we don't have that data. Our data shows that we have done the dye study and proved just the opposite of what you said."

GWA's assistant general manager of compliance Paul Kemp says the agency has done its own testing and their results confirmed that leachate does go into the Inarajan Waste Water Treatment Plant, but none is discharged into the ocean. Ballendorf says GRRP's contention, saying otherwise, are counterproductive to the community. "Honestly, it just looks a little bit immature. I think all the entities could easily come together at the table. Show us yours, we'll show you ours. Let's have a discussion about it," she explained.

Anderson maintains that the Layon Landfill, as a customer of the Guam Waterworks Authority, is fully compliant and works in close cooperation with the local and federal EPA's and testing is done regularly. "Even that water is tested by the contractor. If that water is not contaminated then it is treated just like any other storm water then it goes back into nature and the material that they call the leacheate, which doesn't pass the test is pumped to the Guam Water Authority," he said.

Testing was even conducted before the leachate was accepted at GWA Inarajan plant. "We take care of the leachate," Anderson continued. "We put a lot of design teams in it to make sure we capture it and then we provide that material to the guam water authority.  We will continue to strive to do the testing and continue to strive to be the very best we can at whatever we do."

While GRRP alleges the Layon Landfill doesn't have the necessary permits to discharge into the ocean in violation of the federal Clean Water Act, the receiver says otherwise. "All the permits, we have all the permits, we are not out of compliance on any of them and I don't know where that's coming from," Anderson said.

GRRP meanwhile continues to fight to get a landfill permit from the Guam Environmental Protection Agency to build a private landfill in Atantano, Santa Rita. The Guam EPA must conduct an administrative hearing on GRRP's appeal of their denied application by late-October.

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency meanwhile also wants to clear the record. In a statement issued to KUAM News, the agency notes that it did not conduct a dye trace study, but instead provided input on a study that GWA conducted.  Additionally, the agency notes that it is uncertain if the Inarajan Waste Water Treatment Plant discharged into the ocean but it's a claim the agency is currently reviewing.

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