U.S. EPA awards nearly $3.1 million to Guam for environmental protection

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(PNC photo)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced $3,080,680 in grants in 2020 to the Guam Environmental Protection Agency (GEPA) to strengthen its environmental protection program capacity.

“We are pleased to support Guam EPA programs that are committed to achieving a better environment for Guam residents,” said EPA Regional Administrator John Busterud, “EPA continues to work closely with GEPA staff to develop priorities and provide technical assistance to improve environmental protection.”

Guam EPA will use EPA funding to support environmental inspections, monitor the safety of drinking water and beaches, clean up contaminated sites, inspect fuel storage tanks, protect coral reefs and respond to environmental emergencies.

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

= Ensuring access to potable drinking water for all Guam residents.
= Improving watershed health, stream and marine water quality, and coral reef health.
= Reducing environmental and public health harm from unsafe handling of hazardous waste.
= Providing technical assistance to farmers on proper pesticide application techniques and eliminating illegal importation and use of unregistered foreign pesticides.
= Cleaning-up contaminated sites for productive use.
= Conducting inspections to prevent leaks from fuel storage tanks.
= Conducting radon assessments at homes and institutional buildings most at risk.

“We remain grateful for the financial and technical support from our partners at Region 9 as the Agency renews its capacity to serve our island, ensuring environmental stewardship and compliance through responsive, sustainable environmental programs and policies, especially during these times of uncertainty,” said Guam EPA administrator Walter S. Leon Guerrero.

Guam EPA has used previous US EPA funding on priority projects such as reducing stormwater runoff in the Guam watershed; protecting the Northern Guam Lens groundwater aquifer, Guam’s primary drinking water source; weekly monitoring of 44 recreational beaches for microbiological contamination; providing real-time public access to environmental data and updates to GEPA’s geographic information system; making the air permit application process more efficient for the public; and responding to disasters such as typhoons.

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