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AS-EPA visits Manu’a to survey drinking water infrastructure, conduct site visits

 The American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency spent a week in Manu’a conducting Solid Waste and Piggery Compliance inspections which also included a cesspool inventory and a Sanitary Survey of ASPA’s Drinking Water infrastructure. AS-EPA Director Ameko Pato stated, “the major objective of the trip was to target three components of infrastructure — drinking water, onsite wastewater disposal systems, and solid waste management.”


An inspection of the ASPA Water System was conducted through a Sanitary Survey led by AS-EPA with assistance from ASPA employees. The Sanitary Survey is the assessment of all drinking water infrastructures that provide water to the public. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Sanitary Survey is conducted for all Public Water Systems at a frequency of every three years.


According to Pato, “An official report will be submitted to ASPA on the current state of its drinking water facilities on April 2014. Included in the sanitary survey report are deficiencies that require corrective actions.”


Additionally, a Cesspool Inventory was conducted on structures with cesspools. The inventory is the assessment and documentation of onsite wastewater disposal systems that do not meet onsite septic tank system requirements and standards.


As a result of the survey, AS-EPA identified and documented a total of 133 cesspools in Ta’u, Fitiuta and Faleasao, while Ofu and Olosega had a total of 90 cesspools identified. This assessment aims to eliminate all cesspools in the Manu’a Islands in order to protect and improve drinking water quality.


The piggery compliance inspection and follow-ups were aimed to ensure that all piggeries located in the islands of Manu’a are in compliance with Piggery Compliance Regulations.


Further, AS-EPA conducted site visits for 7 proposed dry litter piggeries, which will be the first dry litter systems in Manu’a. As a first step to compliance, AS-EPA provided compliance assistance to piggery owners on setback requirements, different types of onsite wastewater disposal system requirements, and information on how to obtain a Land Use Permit for piggeries.


AS-EPA also visited ASPA’s dumpsite to document its current state which will be the subject of major discussion between AS-EPA and ASPA to propose a revised solid waste management program and determine a way to consistently remove solid waste from the Manu’a islands.


According to the AS-EPA Director, “If we are successful, this will eliminate the need for the existing dumps in Manu’a. Removing solid waste from the Manu’a islands on a consistent basis has been a long standing problem. There is an immediate need for a dedicated vessel for this purpose not only for the Manu’a islands but also for Aunu’u.”


Furthermore, Pato expressed his sincerest appreciation to Governor Lolo M. Moliga for assisting AS-EPA in making sure that natural resources are preserved and protected in order to improve the quality of life in Manu’a. 


Additionally, he extended a big Faamalo and Faafetai to the Office of Samoan Affairs, ASPA, and Representatives Fetui Fetu Jr. and I’aulualo Faafetai Talia for their support and assistance on the ground in Manu’a — making this visit possible.


Source: Media release, AS-EPA