GUAM AGENCY PROBES DRUMS OF TOXIC WASTE

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By Jay Pascua

HAGATNA, Guam (April 27, 2000 -- Marianas Variety/PINA Nius Online)---The Guam Environmental Protection Agency (GEPA) is continuing to investigate the discovery of drums containing possible hazardous materials on Chamorro Land Trust Commission (CLTC) property in Dededo.

GEPA Administrator Jesus Salas and CLTC head Ron Teehan met recently to share information.

GEPA spokesperson Grace Garces said 25 percent of GEPA employees, or nine investigators, were detailed to the investigation. Three land trust employees were also present during the meeting.

According to Garces, more information was revealed. Garces would not release the newly obtained information.

"Right now we are trying to ascertain the facts from the allegations," Garces said.

She added that the goal of the agency is to seek out the responsible party or parties and is proceeding cautiously to ensure the case is not jeopardized.

According to GEPA, the drums sit over Guam's sole source aquifer less than half a mile from water producing wells.

GEPA officials visited the site and assessed the scope of work to be done by environmental contractors. The agency said any clean up costs would be the responsibility of the violator.

"More information needs to be gathered and there are more people to talk to," Garces said.

Garces said it appears that solid waste and hazardous waste are on the site. She said solid waste carries a fine of up to $1,000 per day per violation and hazardous waste up to $10,000 per violation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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