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EPA emergency planning workshops, inspections, successful in Guam, Saipan

Release Date: 09/12/2006
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(09/12/06) HONOLULU – Most of the 15 facilities that federal officials met with recently to determine emergency preparedness capabilities on Guam and Saipan are coordinating with emergency planning and response agencies and proactively managing chemical risk situations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented emergency planning workshops, conducted inspections and assisted with voluntary audits at 15 facilities in Guam and Saipan prior to the recent Oceania Regional Response Team meetings held the week of Aug. 8. The EPA will work with companies on areas where improvements are needed.

EPA inspectors visited fuel storage facilities, power utilities, civilian and military water treatment facilities, chemical warehouses, resorts and golf courses. The facilities were evaluated for compliance with the emergency planning, risk management, chemical inventory and release reporting requirements.

The EPA rules require companies to manage the risks posed by chemicals used, stored or produced, and to coordinate with emergency planners and responders to protect both personnel and neighbors.

“The EPA will continue to work with the CNMI and Guam emergency planning and response agencies and other facilities to ensure that chemicals on the islands are being managed safely and that response agencies are ready for every contingency,” said Mary Wesling, program inspector with the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region.

The Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations workshops were well attended by fire department, emergency and environmental management staff involved in response and planning in Guam and Saipan. This workshop taught staff to use the latest computer software as a database for storing chemical and response information, and a planning tool for accidental releases as well as other hazards.

Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and Clean Air Act Risk Management workshops were also presented and well attended at both locations.

The Oceania Regional Response Team is one of 13 regional teams nationwide that protects public health, safety and the environment by providing products, tools and activities to support federal, state and local responses to oil and hazardous substance spills. The team – led by the U.S. Coast Guard and the EPA -- covers the Hawai’i, American Samoa, Guam, CNMI, and the Pacific Island possessions.


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