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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 14) – On Thursday, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. visited the Agingan point where a US$4 million outfall pipeline project is to be constructed.

John McCaroll, EPA’s Pacific islands office manager, said the pipeline will be 1,100 feet long and is for the Agingan wastewater treatment plant.

He and other EPA officials were with CUC Executive Director Anthony Guerrero when they visited the site.

The new outfall pipeline will discharge effluent about 800 feet away from the cliff and will minimize the impact of the sewage treatment plant’s byproduct water on the coral reef.

The infrastructure will also be strong enough to resist typhoons, McCaroll said.

He said the EPA awarded the CNMI a grant of US$3.1 million for the project.

The pipeline will ran 100 feet under sea, and its installation involves drilling horizontally through the rocky cliffline and the shelf that slopes down to the ocean floor to 600 feet deep.

Horizontal directional drilling, according to McCaroll, involves drilling through hard coral.

A work plan from the CUC executive director explains that salt water further treats and kills the remaining bacteria in the effluent, or treated wastewater, that is discharged into the ocean.

The goals of the new pipeline project are to keep the effluent away from the shoreline, so that waves will not push it back to the cliffline, and provide a better dilution into the ocean water which reduces or eliminates nutrient-rich effluent that otherwise contributes to algal blooms along the cliff.

Also considered in plans for the pipeline were annual weather patterns, wind, rain, tidal currents, wave heights and sea floor conditions.

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