Guam EPA requires GWA samples to be tested by certified drinking water lab

05 September 2014

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) today notified Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) that drinking water samples being tested for Total Coliform and E. coli must be processed by a certified laboratory.

Laboratories that test drinking water are required to meet and maintain certification requirements enforced by Guam EPA. This includes successfully completing standardized proficiency tests. These certifications are required to ensure any drinking water samples being tested for bacteria, Total Coliform and E. coli are correctly analyzed.

During recent proficiency tests, GWA’s laboratory failed to identify a sample as positive for E. coli. Based on this information, Guam EPA intends to revoke GWA’s laboratory certification.

“We have been working with GWA to make sure its laboratory can readjust and regain its certification as soon as is possible. There are two certified labs on island that can analyze samples for Total Coliform and E. coli. Guam EPA’s lab will also run periodic samples as a quality control measure,” Guam EPA Administrator Eric M. Palacios said. “GWA is working with my team to regain its certification. The ability to have reliable laboratory reports is critical for ensuring all of Guam’s water is safe for consumption and use.”

Testing for bacteria, coliforms and E. coli is a critical component to the management of any drinking water system. This type of testing helps ensure water is safe for use. Ensuring water does not have bacteria or E. coli is also a requirement of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Coliforms and E. coli are bacteria, whose presence indicates the water may be contaminated with human or animal waste. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. These pathogens may pose a special risk for infants, young children and people with compromised immune systems.

“GWA appreciates Guam EPA’s continued diligence in assisting us to provide the the community with the highest quality of water,” GWA acting General Manager Thomas Cruz said. “The quality of the water that we deliver to our community is and always will be our top priority, and we will work with Guam EPA to make sure this is not compromised.”

For more information about the Safe Drinking Water Act, Guam EPA’s laboratory certification process or to arrange an interview, contact Guam EPA’s Public Information Officer Tammy Jo Anderson Taft at 300-4761, 988-7582; or email: TammyJoAnderson.Taft@epa.guam.gov.