About the Water Pollution Control Program
Responsibilities established by law
Federal law In 1948, the United States passed the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Then, in 1972 the Act was reogranized and expanded and finally in 1977 was amended and became the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act establishes a structure for regulating the discharge of pollution into water. This Act also regulated the standard of quality for surface water. One of the main components of this act makes it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters without a permit.
Local mandates The Water Pollution and Control Commission was established in the 1960s to manage and protect Guam’s freshwater. The duties of the Commission were later given to the Guam Environmental Protection Agency when it was formed in 1973. These duties, enforcing Guam’s Water Pollution Control Act and following mandates outlined by the Clean Water Act make up the majority of work for this program.
In short, Guam EPA’s Water Pollution Control Program regulates and enforces local law including the Water Pollution Control Act, the Toilet Facilities and Sewage Disposal Act. To help support these laws, the Program administers several smaller programs that play an essential role in protecting public health, the sole source of Guam’s drinking water (the Northern Aquifer), and Guam’s waters from point and non-point sources of water pollution.
The Water Pollution Control Program has divided the workload and their efforts into two sections:
- The Community Wastewater Section and
- Individual Wastewater Section.
The Community Wastewater Program staff are responsible for administering a program that provides sewage treatment and related facilities for Guam, while the Individual Wastewater Program staff are responsible for controlling pollution from domestic wastewater through a permitting system which requires that all buildings on Guam have a safe and adequate sewage disposal system.
The program also handles the administration of the Federal Sewer Construction Grants Program, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Program, Nonpoint Source Management Program, Individual Wastewater Program, implementation and enforcement of the Guam Water Quality Standards, Guam Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations, Feedlot Waste Management Regulations, and Connection to Public Sewer Regulations.
The program is working on adopting proposed revisions to the Guam Water Quality Standards and implement and enforce the newly adopted revised Guam Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Regulations, and improve environmental compliance for facilities, construction sites and homes.
In the field
The Water Pollution Control Program has inspectors responsible for gathering information about complaints, ensuring operations are being conducted within the confines of issued permits and other various duties. This includes inspecting construction sites to ensure any required silt curtains are in place to prevent runoff. Their field work also includes inspecting grease traps at restaurants to ensure the facilities are cleaning the traps often enough. Clogged grease traps can cause sewer line backups and pollution.
Elements of the Program
The Water Pollution Control Program is responsible for issuing permits for :
- Pollution Discharge,
- Sewer and Water Construction,
- Sewer Connection and Individual Wastewater Disposal,
- Erosion Control, and
- Feedlot Construction and Operating.
Detailed information about these permits, including application forms and instructions for selected permits, can be found in the Permits section of this site.
Program Staff Contact Information