EPA awards $15 million to American Samoa for environmental protection
Honolulu, HAWAII — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $2.3 million to the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (AS-EPA) to strengthen programs that protect human health and the environment, while the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) has been awarded $12.7 million for water infrastructure projects.
“The American Samoa Government has been a great partner in environmental protection,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “We are pleased to support both AS-EPA and ASPA programs that are committed to achieving a better environment for all the residents of American Samoa.”
The AS-EPA uses U.S. EPA funding to support air, water, and land inspections, monitor the safety of beaches and drinking water, clean up contaminated sites, inspect fuel storage tanks, improve piggery compliance, protect coral reefs and respond to emergencies.
Other environmental priorities for the funds include:
- Ensuring access to potable drinking water for all American Samoa residents and working to remove the need for boil-water notices on Tutuila;
- Improving watershed health, stream water quality, and coral reef health. This includes a comprehensive ridge-to-reef assessment program used to predict threats to ecosystem health, pinpoint specific sources of degradation, and develop models for identifying threats to coral;
- Providing technical assistance to farmers on proper pesticide application techniques, and eliminating illegal importation and use of unregistered foreign pesticides;
- Improving air quality by issuing air permits for major sources and monitoring for compliance;
- Reducing diesel emissions on the islands of Ofu and Olosega, through installation of a photovoltaic energy generation and battery storage system to support its goal of 100 percent renewable energy generation for the outer islands; and
- Conducting outreach and education with American Samoa’s schools and communities, including the “Keep American Samoa Beautiful” (KASB) Campaign and American Samoa’s anti-litter program.
“Our environmental programs are made possible by U.S. EPA’s support,” said AS-EPA director Fa’amao Asalele Jr. “This funding has also greatly improved drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in the territory. On behalf of Governor Lolo M. Moliga and the residents of American Samoa, we thank the U.S. EPA for this very important grant award.”
EPA’s Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Construction Grants Funds to ASPA support the design and construction of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. This year’s funding will:
- Work to remove the remaining 30 percent of the population from boil-water notices in the coming year;
- Drill new drinking water wells; continue work on a new water treatment plant, waterline improvements, water tank replacement and sewer line improvement.
"As the world continues to fight the shortage of safe drinking water, American Samoa is blessed to have the support of U.S. EPA in providing this valuable resource to its people at the highest quality,” said ASPA Engineering Service Division manager William Spitzenberg. “The strong partnership between ASPA and U.S. EPA has been very beneficial for all residents of American Samoa."