Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $12.1 million in grants for environmental protection work on the island of Guam. The funding will be split between Guam's Waterworks Authority (GWA) and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency (GEPA) for their efforts protecting human health and the environment, especially as it pertains to water quality on the island territory.
"EPA's support enables Guam to advance its environmental goals," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "Much of this year's funding will go towards improvements in the wastewater system, benefiting the residents of Guam and their precious island resources."
$9.2 million will be granted to the GWA via the EPA's Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for their work designing and constructing water and wastewater infrastructure. This year's funding will support the repair and replacement of GWA's wastewater collection system, as well as the construction of wastewater pump stations in three districts on the island.
Together, these projects will reduce surface and groundwater contamination in these areas by helping to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows. In another effort to bring clean drinking water to Guam's residents, GWA will use grant funding to rehabilitate a number of drinking water wells that are currently out of service.
The nearly $3 million in remaining funds will support a number of GEPA programs aimed at ensuring clean beaches and safe drinking water, including:
- Reducing non-point source pollution in the Ugum watershed, a key drinking water source for southern Guam
- Protecting the Northern Guam Lens, the island's only drinking water aquifer. GEPA programs will prevent contamination, maintain water quality and ensure potable drinking water for residents
- Weekly monitoring of 44 recreational beaches around the island for microbiological contamination
- Continued development of GEPA's Brownfields program and selection of clean-up sites
- Pesticide management programs to educate farmers on proper application techniques and eliminate illegal importation and use of unregistered pesticides
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