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Environmental specialists share best practices

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - They work behind the scenes ensuring your tap water is safe to drink and the air clean, and safe to breathe. For the rest of the week, environmental specialists from throughout the Pacific will share their best practices at the 27th Pacific Islands Environment Conference.

For the rest of the week, Pacific island nations will be learning from one another. After all, we're faced with similar environmental dilemmas from wastewater to drinking water, power and electricity to soil toxicity and how to clean it up. Helping to kickoff the conference Wednesday morning is USEPA's regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld. Earlier this month Blumenfeld met with Governor Eddie Calvo in San Francisco and is slated to meet with him again on Thursday.

"We really have the opportunity to meet with appointees from the governor their staff the academic and business community. Everyone's here really to learn from each other; to learn best practices to learn what can be done to save money," he said.

Just yesterday, Blumenfeld was in Saipan where they struggle with leaks in their water system. "50% of the water that's going through the system is leaks. There's a huge amount of leaks if you image 50% of the water that's going through is not ending up at a tap in Saipan so we help pay for leak detection programs that you as a ratepayer in Saipan aren't paying for water that's just leaking into the ground" he said.

USEPA is currently working with Guam officials to ensure systems are providing products that comply with federal standards. "Where funding becomes a problem is the big infrastructure needs, so Guam Waterworks Authority for instance is working with us for instance to make sure that the systems for waste water when you flush the toilet or drinking water when you turn on the tap those systems need to be in compliance with federal standards," he said.

As a result, all these efforts protect Guam's number one industry, as Blumenfeld noted, "When you think about what tourists want they come to Guam because it's a tropical paradise. You want to make sure that the coral reef the water the fish is pristine you want to make sure that the water that's coming out of the tap is drinkable so all those things we're working with the governor and his team to work to get to a place where people understand the bounty that Guam has to offer."

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