HONOLULU – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $2.3 million to the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (AS-EPA) to strengthen its capacity to protect human health and the environment, while the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) has been awarded $8.4 million for water infrastructure projects.
“The American Samoa government has been a great partner in environmental protection,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We are pleased to support their programs 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;
- Reducing diesel emissions on the islands of Ofu and Olosega, through installation of an additional photovoltaic energy generation and battery storage system to help reach its goal of 100 percent renewable energy generation for the outer islands’ electric power system.
- Providing technical assistance to farmers on proper pesticide application techniques, and eliminating illegal importation and use of unregistered foreign pesticides;
- Conducting outreach and education to American Samoa’s schools and communities, including the “Keep American Samoa Beautiful” (KASB) Campaign and American Samoa’s Anti-Litter Program;
“AS-EPA’s efforts to protect human health and the environment continue to thrive because of the overwhelming support from U.S. EPA,” said AS-EPA Director Ameko Pato. “Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s vision is to improve the quality of life in American Samoa, and with U.S. EPA’s assistance, we are able to contribute to that vision.”
EPA’s Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds to ASPA support the design and construction of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. This year’s funding will improve drinking water quality, including removing existing boil water notices. Targeted projects include connection of more new wells to drinking water systems, water meter replacements, leak detection and repair, waterline improvements, and additional funding for the East Side Village sewer line extension to Aua Village. Past projects include the East Side Village sewer line extension, new well connections, and the UV disinfection project at the American Samoa wastewater treatment plants.
“The ‘quality of life contract’ includes the provision of safe drinking water for all, not just for some,” said Utu Abe Malae, Executive Director of the American Samoa Power Authority. “We are grateful to the USEPA for funding projects that continually improve operations. We are getting closer to our goals of lifting the boil-water-notice and lowering non-revenue water loss below 15 percent.”
The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations — home to 50 million people.
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Dean Higuchi ()