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United States Settles Clean Water Act Case with Guam

Release Date: 12/2/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi (808) 541-2711, U.S. Attorney's Office/Guam (671) 472-7332

The Government of Guam Agrees to Close Ordot Dump

A Joint Release by Department of Justice and US EPA

SAN FRANCISCO--The United States Attorney in Guam and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today the terms of a consent decree to settle the Ordot Dump lawsuit against the Government of Guam.

The consent decree includes deadlines for opening a new landfill and implementing an Ordot closure plan. The consent decree does not identify a specific location for the new landfill site. Rather, the decree requires the Government of Guam to prepare a detailed analysis, with public input, of at least three potential sites before it identifies its preferred alternative for the landfill site.

The Government of Guam will also complete a $1 million dollar supplemental environmental project to develop an island household hazardous waste diversion and management program. In addition, the Government of Guam will pay $200,000 to resolve the United States' claims.

The Clean Water Act lawsuit, filed on July 24, 2002, sought to address the public health and environmental issues associated with the over-capacity, out-of-compliance dump. The Ordot Dump has a long history of illegal leachate discharges into the Lonfit River, fires, and public complaints about odors, rats, and mosquitoes.

"Closing the Ordot Dump will finally address and correct long standing health and environmental hazards," said Wayne Nastri, EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "The agreement also mandates a thorough and public evaluation of potential sites for a new safer landfill."

Leonardo M. Rapadas, U.S. Attorney for the District of Guam said, "We commend the Government of Guam for taking this important step. This agreement allows the Government of Guam to focus its efforts and resources on resolving this serious environmental problem."

"This settlement establishes a realistic plan for managing solid waste on Guam in compliance with federal and local law," said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "In addition, the supplemental environmental project will reduce the amount of hazardous waste improperly discarded in Guam's landfill and will protect Guam's natural resources."

In a 45-month period, the consent decree requires the Government of Guam to:

-complete an environmental impact statement analyzing at least three potential new landfill locations,
-complete design, permitting, and construction for the selected landfill location,
-begin operations at the new landfill, and
-properly and permanently close the Ordot Dump.

The United States will now publish notice of the consent decree in the Federal Register and allow 30 days for public comment. After reviewing any comments received, the United States will determine whether to ask the court to sign and enter the consent decree.
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