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Logistics challenge for Aunu'u is greater than Manu'a, says Utu

Executive Director of the American Samoa Power Authority Utu Abe Malae. [SN file photo]

Executive Director of the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) Utu Abe Malae apologizes for the "substandard service to Aunu'u at this time" and says he is "looking for someone who can take care of Aunu'u and Manu'a, as the logistics challenge for Aunu'u is actually more difficult than that for Manu'a."

Utu was responding to a Samoa News request for comments on concerns raised by an Aunu'u resident about ASPA services there.

According to the Aunu'u resident, it's been eleven months since Aunu'u has had a flatbed for solid waste pick up, and trash pick up is now once a week, although residents still pay regular costs for two-day pick ups, like the residents of Tutuila and Manu'a.

Utu explained that the flatbed was down and a replacement backhoe was also down. He added that there is a large pickup awaiting transportation to Aunu'u when the "UIla ole Sami" is able to sail there. According to Utu, a trailer and UTV are available in Aunu'u already.

On the issue of the status of the Reverse Osmosis (RO) system that was installed last year to eliminate saltiness in the water system, Utu said the Reverse Osmosis machine at the water tank "has been out of commission due to problems with the internal battery of the operating control system of the RO."

According to the Aunu'u resident, "People are still reporting the taste of salt in the water, which contributes to damaging the beauty of sinks, showers, and toilet bowls, but mainly people's health."

Utu explained that while the issue with the internal battery of the RO's operating control system has been fixed, "the membranes went bad due to it being out of commission for over a month."

He said new membranes and spares are on order and should arrive next month. 

"The RO Unit will be up and running as soon as we receive these membranes from off island," Utu shared. "In the meantime, customers on Aunu'u can still obtain drinking water from the drinking water RO machine."