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AS-EPA completes piggery inspections in the Manu’a Islands

Source: AS-EPA media release

The American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (AS-EPA) has completed a week of inspections in the Manu’a Islands. The main focus of the visitation was to conduct piggery inspections, educational outreach in schools, and perform joint inspections with field office on the islands of Ta’u and Ofu, Manu’a.

According to AS-EPA Director Ameko Pato, “This was a great opportunity for capacity development with our field office representatives in Manu’a and also an opportunity to collaborate on some of the unique environmental challenges there. Ultimately, AS-EPA’s goal is to work with our field offices in Manu’a and other government agencies to identify ways to improve our services in these remote islands to protect human health and the environment.”

In Manu’a, the AS-EPA team from Tutuila met with field office representatives and various village pulenu’u to conduct a series of joint piggery inspections. The goal of AS-EPA’s piggery compliance program is to protect water quality and more importantly public health by ensuring that piggeries are in compliance with local laws and regulations.

In order to effectively regulate piggeries, all piggeries are required to have a Land Use Permit — this includes ones on Tutuila, Aunu’u and the Manu’a islands.

The joint piggery inspections focused on 61 documented piggeries on the islands. Of the 61 piggeries, 22 were either voluntarily closed or voluntarily complied. The remaining piggeries received warnings to address unsanitary conditions and setback requirements.  

During the education outreach in schools, AS-EPA visited elementary and high schools in Fitiuta, Faleasao, and Ta’u, Manu’a.

AS-EPA shared information regarding the importance of protecting and safeguarding our drinking water resources, near shore water quality (Beach Advisory), and AS-EPA’s piggery compliance program. Students were actively engaged during the discussion and proud to learn that the beaches in Manu’a were very clean.

 AS-EPA monitors 5 beaches in Manu’a on a monthly basis for a bacteria indicator called Enterococcus.

These beaches are located in the villages of Ofu, Olosega, Fitiuta, Ta’u and Faleasao. Water quality monitoring data over the course of 7 years has shown that Manu’a beaches rarely exceeded the American Samoa Water Quality Standard (ASWQS) for Enterococcus. The good water quality in Manu’a can be attributed to site location (not near streams), low population density and generally well flushed coastal areas.

Overall, AS-EPA was able to accomplish its mission and the team looks forward to future visitations in the Manu’a islands.

AS-EPA is scheduled to send another team early next year with a focus on solid waste, pesticides, and hazardous materials and waste.

The Director expressed his sincerest appreciation to the Office of Samoan Affairs, pulenuu, and school principals for assisting AS-EPA staff while in Manu’a. He also reiterated the importance of working with the community and residents in Manu’a.

AS-EPA field offices are located in Ta’u and Ofu, Manu’a. The point of contact for the Ta’u office is Alice Leulua’i at 677 3157 or 770 1435 and the Ofu office point of contact is Tumaulealofa Leatiota at 655 1198 or 731 2638. 

For more information regarding AS-EPA programs in Manu’a and Tutuila, please call 633-2304.