Southern residents waterblast GWA for outages - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Southern residents waterblast GWA for outages

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According to the GWA, H2O should be restored to the island's southern villages, but it's not stopping residents from waterblasting the agency.

David Benavente has lived in Inarajan all his life. He's used to hearing about the turbidity troubles at the Ugum Water Treatment Plant, and he's tired of it. "Now, it's like if there is a tropical storm or disturbance in the river we have to be shut down and takes us three four days for us to get our water back we have to go to the neighbors, so like I came up here yesterday took a tank borrowed a tank for water that never happened before when I was growing up," he said.

Over the weekend when the island was in Condition of Readiness 2 the Ugum plant was shut down. Ugum feeds water to residents in Talofofo and Umatac. Although it was turned back on after the storm, ir went offline again due to high turbidity levels.  For three days southern residents were left high and dry.

GWA acting general manager Mark Miller admits his utility agency wasn't prepared for the excessive rain, adding the turbidity can't have been avoided and will always cause the Ugum plant to shut down. He does clarify, however, that the extended water outage was due to a water line break south of Ugum which had to be repaired twice.

Once repaired, GWA introduced the water back through the pipes cautiously. "Again, we did not want to compound the problem by rushing had we rushed under those pressure we probably still would not have water today because we would have continued this damaging practice as we moved the water down south," Miller said.

But with an $11 million overhaul of the ugum plant, and planned GWA increases ahead. Residents like Benavente can't help but waterblast, as he said, "I figured they said they are going to raise the water to improve that plant what did they improve they didn't improve nothing. It's just the same things since before even when they first started."

In light of the recent water issues in southern villages the Consolidated Commission on Utilities is meeting  with GWA to address the issue moving forward. According to Miller, they are going to revisit looking at other sources of water including two wells taken offline when Ugum was brought online and two springs.

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