Feds Talk Tough Ahead of Next Week’s GWA Status Hearing

181

Guam – The verbal slug fest between the Guam Waterworks Authority [GWA] and the Department of Justice’s Environmental Enforcement Attorney continues ahead of next week’s Quarterly Status hearing.

In a reply filed last week to GWA’s latest status report, Environmental Enforcement Attorney Robert Mullaney takes GWA to task for its failure to comply with the Stipulated Order and federal law which are meant to bring GWA into compliance with the Clean Water Act.

Read the latest DoJ response to GWA              

The Ukudu Workforce Village and GWA’s ability to process the island’s sewage is once again the main focus of concern.

In his response, Mullany writes that GWA continues to violate effluent limits at the Agana and Northern Wastewater Treatment Plants “discharging poorly treated wastewater to the Philippine Sea.”

* The Northern Wastewater Treatment Plant [NWWTP] “has been in significant noncompliance for all of the last 19 quarters.”

* The Agana Wastewater Treatment Plant [AWTP] “has been in significant noncompliance for 15 of the last 19 quarters,”  between January 2006 and September 2010.

* “GWA misrepresents compliance at both the Baza Gardens and Umatac” Wastewater Treatment Plants.

* None of GWA’s wastewater treatment plants have disinfection systems in place to destroy bacteria prior to discharge.

As for Younex’s Ukudu Workforce Village, which sits next to the Northern Wastewater Treatment Plant, Mullaney writes that the United States is concerned that the upgrades needed at the plant to handle the sewage flow from the Workforce Village “may not be constructed in time” to handle the needs of the Younex project.

GWA and DPW have repeatedly stated that no water or sewer hookups will be granted to Younex for the workforce village  until the NWWTP has been upgraded to handle the load. And GWA is seeking a “Developer Agreement” with Younex to ensure that they pay for the upgrades necessary to allow for water and sewer hookups.

The DoJ Attorney asks the Court to order GWA to enter into an agreement with U.S. EPA “to prevent any connection to the Wastewater System until GWA is able to certify that adequate capacity exists at the Northern District WWTP to treat any additional flow.”

In addition, Mullaney is also critical of GWA for what he calls “GWA’s slow and inadequate response to the broken Southern Link force main. He says that “EPA considers GWA’s leak estimate for this sewage spill to be understated.” 

GWA plans on repairing the force main next week and has warned that there may be an additional sewage overflow and possible water outages.

A hearing on these and other matters relating to GWA’s ongoing efforts to come into compliance with the Stipulated Order will be discussed in District Court next week Wednesday November 17th.