Guam EPA investigating video of apparent runoff pumped into sea - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam EPA investigating video of apparent runoff pumped into sea

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Nearly 27,000 views and close to 400 Shares later on KUAM's Facebook page, the Guam Environmental Protection Agency it is investigating a video sent by viewers capturing what appears to be storm water runoff being pumped into the Tumon Bay Marine Preserve from a hotel driveway area.

Guam EPA deputy director Yvette Cruz said, "As soon as it was reported we immediately went and we inspected the site and upon arriving there were no more pumping activities occurring that had already ceased based on my discussion with the contractor yesterday it ceased sometime around mid-morning and early afternoon." Because there was no hose leading in the direction of the ocean and no pumping occurring at the time Guam EPA arrived they cannot say for sure if the water seen in the video is from the hoses.

"Based on the video there were hoses leading towards the direction of the bay, and so we are just looking further into the situation to truly determine what had happened number one and to determine if any wrong doing occurred," Cruz said. But it does raise concern as storm water runoff deliberately pumped into a marine preserve area can carry pollutants, which could then have negative impacts on marine life, habitat and water quality. "It gives us something to conduct our investigation because if you look at the video as the water enters sand no matter what the sand indents it kind of dips and the water creates its own pathway. I cannot say with a hundred percent certainty that storm water runoff was indeed what you see in the video and that is what we are trying to determine," she added.

Cruz says it could have been rainfall that naturally found its way to the ocean. However if it is determined that storm water runoff was being pumped into Tumon Bay, it is a violation and carries fines. "It all depends on volume duration there several factors that are in play and of course I cannot share the amount of the dollar fine, if one were to be imposed," Cruz said. "So right now we are still trying to determine whether or not wrong doing had occurred at all."

In response, Dusit Thani Guam Resort general manager Dean Huntsman issued the following statement: "Dusit Thani Guam Resort is fully committed to operating an environmentally friendly hotel. The storm water system was clearly overwhelmed throughout all of Tumon from Tropical Storm Chan-Hom and flash flooding over the weekend. In an effort to mitigate the flooding, the hotel contractor followed the Guam Environmental Protection Agency approved storm water drainage plan and re-directed the water into the storm water system not directly to the beach.

"The contractor met with Guam Environmental Protection Agency officials on Sunday and again this morning. Dusit Thani Guam Resort is a proponent of environmentally responsible tourism and will work with Guam EPA and our contractor to ensure the Tumon Bay Preserve is protected for the enjoyment of tourists and residents alike."

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