FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2002
DOJ (202) 514-2007
U.S. EPA/MIKE ARDITO (415) 972-3081
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE/GUAM (671) 472-7332
UNITED STATES FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST GUAM
FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS AT ORDOT DUMP
WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Justice Department with the United States Attorney in Guam and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency today filed a complaint against the Government of Guam for Clean Water Act violations at the Ordot Dump.
The U.S. government is seeking unspecified civil penalties and actions to achieve clean water compliance and closure of the over-capacity landfill. The Ordot Dump, owned and operated by the Guam Department of Public Works, is located north of the Lonfit River and has a history of discharging pollutants into the river without a permit.
There have been fires at the dump which have required the temporary evacuation of nearby homes. The EPA has concerns about the dangers from above-ground and underground fires, including accumulation of carbon monoxide in nearby lower elevations. Rats, mosquitoes and odors at the dump also have been serious problems and the subject of citizen complaints.
Since 1986, the EPA has been attempting to get Guam to address the problems at the dump through negotiations and then by issuing administrative orders and filing administrative complaints. Those efforts have failed to stop the illegal discharges to the Lonfit River, because Guam has failed to comply with the orders and its agreements.
"The United States is filing this action because all other efforts to prevent further contamination from the Ordot Dump to the Lonfit River have failed," said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Frederick Black, U.S. Attorney for the District of Guam said, "The dump has been and will continue to be a serious environmental and health problem unless some action is taken. We have made every effort to persuade Guam to step forward and voluntarily close the Ordot Dump. Now we will ask the Court to order Guam to take that step."
"Guam must properly close and contain the Ordot Dump and open a new landfill that better protects public health and the environment," said Wayne Nastri, the EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "The debris left by Typhoon Chata'an reinforces Guam's need for good solid waste facilities."
The complaint was filed in United States District Court for Guam in Hagatna.