USEPA lists numerous deficiencies with GWA - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

USEPA lists numerous deficiencies with GWA

Posted: Updated:

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Already under a stipulated order with the feds, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a letter to the Guam Waterworks Authority to cleanup its act. "There's been constant attention focused on GWA," notes Simon Sanchez.

It was in 2002 when the feds took GWA to court for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. A decade later and over a billion dollars worth of investment to turn things around and the USEPA has identified several deficiencies with the agency's drinking water supply systems. The USEPA conducted an inspection back in May and today wrote a letter to GWA, listing-off what they found such as a pattern of poor maintenance that could lead to further deterioration eventually impacting water quality.  

Sanchez, the chairman of the Consolidated Commission on Utilities, told KUAM News, "When they say some of our maintenance issues remain challenges for us, that concerns me. They have concerns about Ugum and that's essential a brand new plant and just yesterday we lost it."

According to the inspection report, USEPA inspectors found a lack of routine maintenance, many wells are located in close proximity to potential sources of fecal and other sources of contamination, and no well head protection plan is in place for GWA wells.   The report goes on to state that some wells have cracks and other openings in the well pads, casings and improperly sealed sanitary seals leaving a direct opening for contamination to enter wells.  Inspectors found a lack of operation and maintenance at Ugum and at the Santa Rita Springs Plant.

At least one well did not have a chlorination system in place. The USEPA also found bolts that had been completely rusted through, which compromises structural stability of tanks, inadequate site security, leaking tanks, and no formal or comprehensive training program for operators and other personnel. The USEPA noted over 40 deficiencies, of which Sanchez said, "We have our work cut out. There's some things that disappoint me in terms of some things I thought we had resolved appear to me that we haven't resolved them."

Sanchez added that with over a billion dollars worth of improvements on the horizon, its money he does not want to see go down the drain. "If we're going to spend a billion dollars in the next five to ten, twenty years on GWA, then the responsibility of GWA is to maintain the equipment and sustain the equipment because people of Guam don't want to be throwing a billion dollars to GWA every ten to twenty years. These things should last thirty to zero years. so to me it's a reminder from USEPA that we have much work to do."

GWA has 45 days to turn to explain to the USEPA what it plans to do to address the deficiencies. In the meantime, Sanchez as well as the feds assure the community that the water is still safe to drink.

  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Brandon Cruz awakens Guam's indigenous tongue

    Brandon Cruz awakens Guam's indigenous tongue

    Meet 30-year old Brandon Cruz, a chanter with the I Fanalian' Oral History Project and advocate for the CHamoru language and culture.He grew up around his grandparents on his dad's side--a pair very in tune with their culture. "We would go down south to oMore >>
    Meet 30-year old Brandon Cruz, a chanter with the I Fanalian' Oral History Project and advocate for the CHamoru language and culture.He grew up around his grandparents on his dad's side--a pair very in tune with their culture. "We would go down south to oMore >>
  • Motorcyclist stable after Yigo accident

    Motorcyclist stable after Yigo accident

    A man hit by a car while riding his motorcycle in Yigo on Tuesday is recovering from his serious injuries at the Guam Regional Medical City. Police say he is in stable condition. The motorcyclist was rushed to the hospital after colliding with a black sedMore >>
    A man hit by a car while riding his motorcycle in Yigo on Tuesday is recovering from his serious injuries at the Guam Regional Medical City. Police say he is in stable condition. The motorcyclist was rushed to the hospital after colliding with a black sedMore >>
  • Three convicted sex offenders to be deported

    Three convicted sex offenders to be deported

    Three sex offenders will be deported. Governor Eddie Calvo signed commutations for the three men. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement identified the three non-U.S. citizens for having committed deportable crimes. They are Fel Maxmaylena, Jeshua JoshuMore >>
    Three sex offenders will be deported. Governor Eddie Calvo signed commutations for the three men. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement identified the three non-U.S. citizens for having committed deportable crimes. They are Fel Maxmaylena, Jeshua JoshuMore >>
Powered by Frankly