Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) has received a compliance order from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take immediate steps to repair a broken sewer force main to wastewater plant located near Southern Link Sewage Lift Station in Dededo, Guam.

The order requires GWA to repair or replace the broken 36-inch diameter force main within two weeks to eliminate wastewater spills, ensure containment and treatment of all wastewater from the force main and monitor a nearby drinking water well for impacts of spilled sewage.

GWA, which has built a lined pond and trench to collect the leaking sewage for transport and treatment at the Northern District plant, needs to maintain the pond, trench and treat the sewage until the force main is fixed and place signs warning the public of the sewage spill.

Further, GWA will submit its emergency response and cleanup procedures addressing any future sewage spills to EPA by the end of October in addition to providing monthly spill reports on all sewage spills, along with notice to Guam EPA and EPA of all spills greater than 100 gallons.

EPA water director of Pacific Southwest region Alexis Strauss said that this is a major break, with potential for a large volume of raw sewage to leach into the ground or flood the road.

“GWA’s delay in reporting the break and its lack of timely response has exposed the public to untreated sewage. They need to move fast to fix this public health hazard,” Strauss said.