Governor meets with Army Corps of Engineers to tackle Tualauta flooding
The problems related to serious flooding in Tualauta County were raised by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga during a meeting earlier in the week with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer official, who was on island for meetings with local officials, according to the governor’s office.
Rep. Larry Sanitoa had recently sent a letter to the governor seeking his assistance in obtaining help from the Army Corps to work on a feasibility study for the Tualauta County flooding/drainage projects, citing possible drinking water shortages if the problems are not addressed.
Sanitoa says Congressman Faleomavaega Eni had suggested in 2009 that such a request needed to come from the local government to the federal agency and thereafter a request was sent to the previous administration, who did not act upon it.
Responding to his letter to Lolo for help, the governor’s office informed Sanitoa yesterday morning that Lolo raised the Tualauta flooding nemesis with Army Corps project manager Milton Yoshimoto during the meeting on Tuesday, and the meeting was also attended by Department of Public Works director Faleosina Voight.
The governor’s office says it was revealed by Voight and confirmed by Yoshimoto that a request has already been sent to the Army Corps, and they are already taking steps to develop a ‘scope of work’ for the study.
“The only issue of contention was the study was going to be limited in scope covering only Ottoville, Mesepa, and Ili'ili,” according to the governor’s office, which has since informed Yoshimoto and Voight that based on separate letters from Sanitoa and Rep. Florence Saulo, the two lawmakers wanted the entire Tualauta county covered under this study.
Last week Saulo wrote to the governor calling for the establishment of a government task force to tackle the long standing issues of flooding problems in Tualauta, saying everyone must be involved, from the Executive leaders and agency heads, to faipule, to the village leadership, in order to address this issue.
During the meeting Yoshimoto informed the governor ASG didn’t have to write to Washington D.C. “to invoke” Army Corps assistance”.
“Please know that the Governor is taking steps now to address this critical issue impacting the lives of our people living in Tualauta,” the governor’s office informed Sanitoa, who was also asked to confirm that all of Tualauta was to be included in the study so Voight can amend the request to the Army Corps to include the entire Tualauta county in the study.
Yesterday morning Sanitoa responded to the governor’s office asking “to include the entire Tualauta as it would be beneficial for all concerned if we determine the root cause or source of the problem and determine a long term solution.”
The governor’s office is now waiting for a report from Voight on the progress of the request to the Army Corps regarding the study.
Meanwhile, Faleomavaega has voiced his support of Sanitoa’s request for a feasibility study of the flooding problems at Tualauta, after receiving a copy of the faipule's letter to the governor.
Besides continual flooding in Tualauta — which is the most populous county in the territory — the area roads are also riddled with many potholes including those on the airport road.
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