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EPA fines Guam Waterworks Authority $22,000 for inadequate monitoring

Release Date: 9/28/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711,

HONOLULU -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined the Guam Waterworks Authority $22,000 for not meeting the requirements of an order to improve the utility's drinking water and wastewater systems.

A June 2003 order required the utility to develop a monitoring program aimed at ensuring adequate chlorine levels are maintained in the water system. Guam EPA inspectors found 22 occurrences where wells either had empty chlorine cylinders or malfunctioning chlorinators. Under GWA's Interim Disinfection Program, the utility must conduct follow-up monitoring and notify the EPA each time it fails to adequately chlorinate.

"While Guam Waterworks Authority has improved in some areas, clearly there are still major deficiencies. It is simply unacceptable for chlorination systems to fail so frequently, causing unnecessary risks to public health," said Alexis Strauss, the EPA's director for water programs in the Pacific Southwest region. "Guam EPA's vigilance was once again key to uncovering these violations."

The EPA approved GWA's Interim Disinfection Program on Dec. 30, and the utility is required to ensure its drinking water system is adequately chlorinated by maintaining a chlorine residual at all times and at all locations throughout the water distribution system. The EPA is assessing $1,000 for each violation for a total of $22,000.

Chlorine is added to most water supplies to kill potentially disease causing microorganisms which may be present in the raw water, or enter into the distribution system. Chlorination of drinking water sources helps ensure that a community will be protected against waterborne diseases and microbial contamination. Many wells in Guam have a history of being contaminated with microorganisms.

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