The Governor’s Coral Reef Advisory Group (CRAG) - Land Based Sources of Pollution (LBSP) sponsored a one-day workshop for members of the Project Notification Review System (PNRS) Board to discuss stormwater management in American Samoa. The workshop was hosted by the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (AS-EPA) at its Green Building in Utulei.

As the lead agency for LBSP, AS-EPA shared with Board members the impacts of stormwater to our daily lives, property, and infrastructure. In order to manage and regulate stormwater, applicants are required to submit an erosion & sediment control plan, stormwater control plan, and if applicable, apply for a Section 401 Water Quality Certification. These requirements are not meant to hinder development in the Territory, but rather minimize potential impacts to the environment.

In his opening remarks, AS-EPA Director Lefega Faamao Asalele stated that soil erosion and sedimentation runoff cause a variety of water quality problems that threaten our near shore waters, recreational beaches, our coral reefs and marine resources. Uncontrolled runoff can also lead to flooding, property damage and even landslides when disturbed soils are not properly stabilized. The Director pointed out that erosion and sediment run-off have been some of the concerns raised by the community.

DMWR Director Va’amua Henry Sesepasara who was the special speaker highlighted the importance of working together and collaborating as a team to address the impacts of unpermitted activities that have adverse impacts to public health and the environment. In closing, Director Va’amua thanked the PNRS Board Chairman Keniseli Lafaele for the very important work that they do to improve the quality of life in American Samoa.

CRAG representatives shared Best Management Practices (BMP) that can be implemented to minimize stormwater impacts. Some of these BMPs include rain gardens, permeable pavement, and rain barrels. Representatives from the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Department of Commerce (DOC) also presented on their roles in minimizing stormwater impacts and the challenges they face in their line of work.

Director Asalele thanked all Directors for allowing their staff to participate in the workshop and for their corporation and efforts in ensuring a safe American Samoa. Also in attendance included representatives from the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), American Samoa Historical Preservation Office (ASHPO), and the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR).

For more information please contact AS-EPA at 633-2304.