Guam- For the first time in several years, the Guam Environmental Protection Agency has removed West Hagatna Bay from its weekly advisory listing of “closed beaches.”
Guam EPA Spokesperson Tammy Jo Anderson Taft tells PNC the reason why the beach area was closed was because the Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) used an old, cracked outfall pipe in emergencies to get rid of sewage from the Hagatna Sewage Treatment Plant. When that happens, she mentions some of the treated sewage can come inside the reef and make it unsafe for humans. However, Taft says GWA confirmed last week they have sealed up that outfall and the agency will not be using it anymore.
“GWA was able to give us documentation that shows that that outfall will never be used again,” said Taft. “They’re only using the new outfall which delivers the sewage farther from shore that’s not a threat to human health, which is so great. We’re really pleased to announce that we’re able to lift the beach closure here because that cracked outfall will not be used again.”
In the meantime, Taft notes Guam EPA will continue to take weekly samples on 21 beaches. If tests show bacteria levels are high in the West Hagatna Bay, it will be listed under their advisory like all other beaches. Guam EPA has produced its recreation waters pollution report since 1974.