About the Program
The Environmental Monitoring Program was originally established in 1976 as the Monitoring and Laboratory Services Division. The Program was then separated out to run parallel to the Analytical and Laboratory Program. These two programs now work closely together and therefore are part of the same division within the Agency. The Monitoring Program focuses mainly on water quality, but includes fish tissue and sediment as projects dictate.
Elements of the Monitoring Program
Guam Water Quality Monitoring Strategy and Beach Reports
The Monitoring Program is responsible for implementing the Guam Water Quality Monitoring Strategy. This strategy aims to protect the quality of Guam’s fresh and marine waters through consistent monitoring and collection of reliable scientific data. Recreational marine waters are analyzed for microbiological quality on a weekly basis. Public advisories are issued for beaches that are considered polluted and deemed unsafe for swimming.
The program also monitors freshwater rivers, streams and estuaries on a regular basis. Water samples are analyzed by Guam EPA’s laboratory to determine the microbiological, physical and chemical quality of the water.
Inspection and partnerships
The Monitoring Program also provides technical support to other Programs within the Agency. The Program often assists other staff on inspections to ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations. These inspections include monitoring Department of Defense underwater detonations, dredging activities, and coastal development activities. The program also responds to and monitors any damage incidents to the marine environment.
Sand and aggregate importation
This Program also regulates the importation of sand and aggregate to ensure that shipments of sand and aggregate are free from microbial contamination. This is an important checkpoint that helps protect Guam’s fragile, island ecosystem from potentially harmful bacteria or other agents.
Fish and Shellfish Contaminant Monitoring Program
Currently, a comprehensive fish and shellfish consumption advisory program does not exist on Guam. That is why Guam EPA is working on arranging comprehensive fish and shellfish tissue monitoring in order to assess tissue quality for consumption and to determine the need for consumption advisories. This monitoring effort will involve the collection of fish and shellfish tissue samples from recreational, commercial (including imported fish and shellfish) and subsistence fish and shellfish harvesting sites. Samples will be analyzed for priority pollutants in order to determine the need for fish and shellfish consumption advisories. For more information about these efforts contact Walter Leon Guerrero.
Burial at sea
The Monitoring Program also reviews applications for Burial at Sea. For more information about this process, CLICK HERE.