Storm water mgmt workshop underway

Mr. Brian Rippy- ASEPA design engineer, explains the multiple features of the newly built EPA building next to the Food Stamp Building in Utulei to all attendees of the “Stormwater Training Workshop.” The workshop was spearheaded by representatives from the Horsley Whitten Group in Massachusetts who are helping design the Faga’alu Watershed project funded by the NOAA Coral Reef Program. [photo: Leua Aiono Frost]

Currently a highly specialized training is being conducted on island which aims to put  storm  water management in a Pacific context. Conducted by the Horsley Whitten Group from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, it is being done in collaboration with the Center for Watershed Protection.

 Government and private sector engineers as well as members of the community are participating.

Samoa News spoke with Anne Kitchell, who is here to conduct the training for the Horsley Whitten Group.

“We’re here just for this week to do two things. The first is to follow up on the watershed plan for Faga’alu that has already been developed. We’re looking for restoration projects to clean storm water and to provide recharge back into the ground in this watershed to reduce the pollutants from rainfall,” said Kitchell. 

She went on to say that they are looking for projects which need engineer’s designs for them and to help get grant funding to construct them.

Their second focus is to provide training on storm water management for government staff and engineers here on the island.

According to the training agenda, the impact of unmanaged storm water on American Samoa’s aquatic resources, federal regulations for post-construction and construction activities, and what watershed factors influence how storm water is managed are all subjects of discussion during the workshop.

Also introduced at the workshop are the world’s ‘best management practices’ or BMPs for storm water, which include green roofs, bio-retention, sand filters, and permeable pavers.

Examples of how these BMPs are applied in other Pacific islands will be emphasized, says the group’s agenda. Standards and design criteria were also on the agenda.

Samoa News also had a chance to speak with Christianera Tuitele of the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) on the training that is taking place throughout the week.

“We are working together with our contractors, Horsely Whitten and the Center for Watershed Protection to put together this workshop for American Samoa,” said Tuitele.

“We have different government departments here, including the Department of Public Works, the American Samoa Power Authority, as well as the private sector and the general public all involved in this workshop.”

On speaking of Faga’alu village’s watershed management plan, she said, “Through ASEPA, which is part of the governor’s Coral Reef Advisory Group, we are the lead for land based sources of pollution. Part of our role here with the advisory group is to protect watersheds within the territory.”

She explained that Faga’alu village is the first village to create a management plan on why they need to protect their watershed for the natural resources that they need to protect. Tuitele also explained that the management plan for Faga’alu is in its final stages.

“People from all over the world are trying to put money into this village, trying to protect their watershed,” she said.

Tuitele noted that on behalf of her director (Fanuatele Dr. To’afa Vaiaga’e) she is leading the Coral Reef Advisory Group’s land based source of pollution team.

A watershed is a basin-like land-form defined by high-points and ridge-lines that descend into lower elevations and stream valleys.

The Horsley Whitten Group specializes in providing consulting services in sustainable development techniques, site design, coastal and watershed protection, hydrology, hydrogeology, engineering, land use regulation and technical information transfer and training.

Reach the reporter at jeff@samoanews.com


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