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U.S. and Guam Reach Agreement for Guam Waterworks Authority Violations

Release Date: 5/20/2003
Contact Information: U.S. EPA/Dean Higuchi (808) 541-2711, U.S. Attorney's Office/Guam (671) 472-7332

A Joint Release by Department of Justice and US EPA
The United States Attorney in Guam and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today the terms of an agreement that requires the Guam Waterworks Authority and the Government of Guam to take specific initial measures to improve Guam Waterworks' drinking water and wastewater systems.

     The "stipulated order for preliminary relief" filed with the federal District Court today begins the process of addressing compliance issues at Guam Waterworks. In a complaint filed on Dec. 20,  the United States alleged that Guam Waterworks repeatedly violated both the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. The federal lawsuit will ensure that Guam Waterworks undertakes long-term projects to correct these compliance issues. The United States and Guam Waterworks may agree to additional conditions or a final settlement to address other compliance issues after the initial measures are completed.

     "We see the stipulated order as an important first step in the right direction," said Wayne Nastri, the EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.  "It is a blueprint that maps out the path Guam must take to safeguard the public and environment while offering high quality service to its customers."

     The order requires Guam Waterworks to:

          -hire properly trained professionals;
          -improve organizational inefficiencies;
          -complete a master plan and several technical assessments;
          -overhaul financial and operational systems;
          -enhance water disinfection programs;
          -improve the reliability of the existing infrastructure; and
          -begin the rebuilding process for the island's aging drinking water and wastewater systems.  

     The federal District Court will retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the order over the course of the next few years.

     "This is a very important case," said Frederick Black, U.S. Attorney for the District of Guam.  "To protect public health, we must ensure that Guam Waterworks is moving quickly towards compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act.  I'm very pleased that we were able to work out an agreement with Guam Waterworks and the Government of Guam to begin this process of rehabilitation.  The residents of Guam are better served if we direct our resources to promptly correct the urgent water and sewage problems at Guam Waterworks."
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