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Nimitz Hill Quonset Hut Drum Sampling Completed, Analysis to Follow

Todu Y Nilala T Tano Man Uno • All Living Things Are One

Nimitz Hill Quonset Hut Drum Sampling Completed, Analysis to Follow

October 25, 2018 (Tiyan, Guam) – United States Coast Guard Sector Guam (USCG Sector Guam) deployed its incident management division in response to the discovery of drums in a Quonset hut located in the NimitzHill/Lonfit area. Unitek Environmental Guam performed sampling at the site in the area, as contracted by USCG Sector Guam.

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The sampling occurred on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, through the coordination by officials from Unitek Environmental, USCG Sector Guam and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA). Sampling commenced at 9:30 a.m. and concluded without injury or incident, at 10:15 a.m. Samples will be shipped off island for analysis. Characterization of the unknown substances could take up to two weeks to be completed.

Liquid and solidified asphalt-like and tar-like substances were observed in 55-gallondrums. Approximately 62 drums were observed in various physical conditions,along with other miscellaneous metallic waste in the dilapidated Quonset hut.

Guam EPA Administrator Walter S. Leon Guerrero stated, “In speaking with Captain Chris Chase on September 20, 2018, the agency was assured that a USCG response to this drum site would ensue.” Leon Guerrero further stated, “We are pleased with his leadership and our partnership with USCG Sector Guam, and I appreciate the commitments we received on October 2, 2018 from Lieutenant Commander Allison Cox and Lieutenant JG Larla Brown in responding to the site.”


BRIEF INCIDENT TIMELINE

August1, 2018:      Photos and approximate location of drums reported to Guam EPA, incident and investigation reported to US Army Corps of Engineers (US ACE), Property Eligibility Assessment (PEA) for Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) funding begins

August9, 2018: property ownership investigation begins, inclement weather delays Guam EPA ocular site inspection.

August22, 2018: Guam EPA receives word from US ACE that clean up cost are ineligible for reimbursement if PEA is not completed, CERCLA Removal Action invoked with US ACE, alternative clean up and removal actions explored with USCG Sector Guam Oil Pollution Control Fund

September7, 2018: US ACE requests additional information about the site to provide support upon completion of PEA

September11, 2018: Delays experienced from Typhoon Mangkhut September 20, 2018: Guam EPA engages with USCG Sector Guam for support on characterization and removal

October2, 2018: Guam EPA receives commitment from USCG Sector Guam for incident response

October 24, 2018: Unitek Guam samples drums at site


NO CONNECTION TO AGENT ORANGE

The agency is aware of the circulating photos depicting the drums and the Quonset hut on social media,and the speculation about their contents in relation to Agent Orange. At this time, Guam EPA has no evidence to suggest that these drums are connected to Agent Orange.“Just as if anyone should discover a UXO, we ask our residents and visitors to treat these types of situations with caution,tempered with the understanding that the circumstances may be hazardous,” said Leon Guerrero. “We ask the community to remember the ‘3 Rs:’ Recognize danger, Retreat to safety and Report the discovery to public safety personnel.”


For more information about FUDS or this project, please contact Guam EPA DSMOA Program Environmental Health Specialist III, Michael Cruz by telephone at 671-300-4751or via email: michael.cruz@epa.guam.gov

For more information about this release, please contact Guam EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Nic Rupley Lee at 300-4753 or nic.rupley@epa.guam.gov