News | December 11, 2018

EPA Awards $14.7M To Guam For Environmental Protection

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $2.9M to the Guam Environmental Protection Agency (GEPA) to strengthen its capacity to protect human health and the environment, and more than $11.8M the Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) for water infrastructure projects.

“The Guam government has been a great partner in environmental protection,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “We are pleased to support both GEPA and GWA, agencies committed to achieving a better environment for all the residents of Guam.”

GEPA uses U.S. EPA funding to support air, water, and land inspections, monitor the safety of beaches and drinking water, clean up contaminated sites, inspect fuel storage tanks, protect coral reefs, and respond to emergencies. The award includes contract support to strengthen GEPA’s oversight of safe drinking water, and to improve GEPA’s online information management and air permit system.

The funding will enable GEPA to continue a host of ongoing environmental programs including:

  • Reducing non-point source pollution generated by stormwater runoff in the Ugum watershed -- a key drinking water source for southern Guam -- through education and outreach, improved land management and construction practices, and tree planting in eroded areas;
  • Protecting the Northern Guam Lens, the island’s sole-source drinking water aquifer, through permitting and enforcement programs designed to prevent contamination, maintain water quality, and ensure potable drinking water;
  • Weekly monitoring of 44 recreational beaches for microbiological contamination;
  • Providing improved real-time public access to environmental data through development of the Guam Facility Registry System and updates to GEPA’s geographic information system;
  • Developing GEPA’s Brownfields program and selecting clean-up sites;
  • Improving pesticide management by educating farmers on proper application techniques and prevention of illegal import and use of unregistered pesticides;
  • Conducting island-wide inspections to prevent fuel leaks from underground and aboveground fuel storage tanks;
  • Conducting radon assessments at selected homes and institutional buildings; and
  • Managing GEPA emergency response, hazardous waste, and clean air programs.

"Guam EPA is pleased with our continued partnership with U.S. EPA. Every program in the agency has a unique role in protecting human and environmental health,” said Guam EPA Administrator Walter S. Leon Guerrero. “With nearly 170,000 residents who call Guam home and over a million more who cross our shores as visitors, funding is paramount in our ability to safeguard our island paradise."

EPA’s Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Construction Grants Funds to GWA will support the design and construction of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

This year’s funding will focus on reducing sanitary sewer overflows that pose risks to drinking water sources. Projects include rehabilitation of failing sewer lines, including construction of collection system projects on Routes 1, 2 and 4 and sewer overflow “hotspots” in Tumon and Tamuning.

Funding will also support upgrades of five drinking water wells in central Guam. Rehabilitation and reconnection of these wells will enhance drinking water supplies and reduce the frequency of low-pressure events and water outages.

“The funding received is critical to the ongoing efforts to improve the reliability of GWA’s water system, and to protect the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer. We appreciate the support and collaboration between GWA, GEPA and the EPA in working toward these goals for the entire island community,” said GWA General Manager Miguel Bordallo.

The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations -- home to 50 million people.

SOURCE: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)