USEPA team in territory to assess and dispose of hazardous waste
A team from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Region is in the Territory from March 4 – 14, 2014 to assess and dispose of various hazardous wastes from high school and community college (ASCC) laboratories, the LBJ Tropical Medical Center, Department of Agriculture (DOA) and the American Samoa Shipyard Service Authority (ASSSA).
The team is headed by Chris Reiner and Bret Moxley who are USEPA on scene coordinators out of the region 9 office in San Francisco, California. The team also consists of five USEPA contractors who specialize in chemical assessment and neutralization, as well as hazardous waste transportation and disposal.
USEPA agreed to send the team to American Samoa in response to a request for technical assistance by the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency’s Director, Ameko Pato.
According to Pato, he and Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga were discussing any assistance that AS-EPA can provide in dealing with drums of paint thinners, mixed fuels and chemicals at the American Samoa Shipyard Service Authority (ASSSA) which have been accumulating over time. After multiple meetings with the ASSSA management, he decided to request USEPA for technical assistance to address the said issue, as well as using this opportunity to address hazardous waste or chemical disposal from high school labs, ASCC lab, LBJ Medical Center and DOA cancelled and expired pesticides.
The director stated, “I would like to thank USEPA Region 9 for generously accepting my request for technical assistance in addressing this serious issue. Chemicals and pesticides that are not disposed of properly can have a devastating impact on public health, our drinking water resources and our fragile environment.”
He also pointed out that this is a one-time opportunity to have these chemicals disposed of properly and when this project is over, the responsibility to dispose of any future chemicals or hazardous waste will be that of the facility or institution which is the responsible party.
“These facilities and institutions are required to develop hazardous material management plans for their chemicals, which include a plan to properly dispose them when they are no longer being used” stated Pato.
The USEPA team will work in conjunction with the AS-EPA Air & Land Division on this project. DPS-Fire Hazmat Team, EMS and Department of Homeland Security have been notified of the project to provide support and assistance in the event that it is needed.
USEPA and AS-EPA have taken the necessary measures to ensure the safe assessment, packaging, transporting and disposal of the aforementioned chemicals. For more information on this project call AS-EPA at 633-2304.
Source: USEPA media release