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EPA fines Guam Waterworks Authority $17,750 for failing to comply with order

Release Date: 5/18/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711

HONOLULU -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined the Guam Waterworks Authority $17,750 for not completing requirements under an order to improve the utilities’ drinking water and wastewater systems.

The GWA is being fined $4,750 for an inadequate plan to rehabilitate and replace the utilities’ drinking water wells. The utility is also fined $13,000 for failing to complete a hydraulic model and hydraulic analysis needed for its long-term master plan. The EPA also found that GWA did not have enough certified operators to staff the necessary staff positions.

“GWA’s plans to rehabilitate and replace its drinking water wells must meet the terms of the order to provide a dependable and clean source of drinking water for Guam,” said Alexis Strauss, the EPA’s director for water programs in the Pacific Southwest region. “Implementation of the plans are crucial and GWA hasn't submitted schedules to get work done fast enough. We will continue our oversight of GWA’s work to ensure compliance with the order.”

The EPA found that GWA’s drinking water rehabilitation and replacement plan did not identify and prioritize what wells were to be worked on, and scheduled work to be completed a year later than agreed upon in the June 2003 order.

The GWA master plan for its drinking water and wastewater systems failed to complete a proper hydraulic model and analysis of Guam’s three public water systems. Other necessary work outlined in the master plan is behind schedule and jeopardizes other compliance dates in the order.

The utility submitted to the EPA a list of staff operators that included several questionable choices including division directors who already fill critical roles at the utility. It also appears that one or more listed operators are only part-time employees and have full-time positions elsewhere in Guam.

Operators must be full-time employees that are on-staff, on-island, and completely capable and available to devote their working hours to duties. The EPA found GWA’s list inadequate and far short of what was required in the order. GWA has 30 days to resubmit a list of operators who are available full-time without otherwise impairing the performance of the utility. If GWA fails to comply, the utility could be fined $1,000 per day of violation for the first 30 days.

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