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EPA helps American Samoa remove soil contaminated with explosives

Release Date: 12/15/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

HONOLULU(12/15/05) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently assisted the American Samoa government with removing and disposing of explosives inadvertently disposed in a residential area in the Lepine Area, Tafuna Village.

The explosives from the American Samoa Department of Public Works Maintenance and Operations yard were disposed with soil intended to cover a garbage dump. The American Samoa EPA was notified by a resident of the village of this situation and the ASEPA contacted the EPA for assistance. All of the explosives were detonated by a local firm during a routine detonation at the local quarry.

“This removal effort is the result of the partnership between the EPA and the American Samoa government resulting in the clean up of dangerous explosives,” said John McCarroll, manager of the EPA’s Pacific Islands Office. “Working together, we eliminated a serious safety hazard to people living in the area.”

The American Samoa government coordinated the removal of the explosives contaminated soil from the residential site. The soil was returned to the Public Works Maintenance and Operations yard where it was sifted to remove boosters, explosives, and power gel. The soil was stockpiled for transport to the landfill and the explosive boosters were detonated at nearby quarry by a local contractor. The power gel was burned at a quarry on a diesel soaked pallet. All remaining non-hazardous material was disposed of at the landfill.

The EPA and an explosives expert from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms aided the American Samoa Territorial Emergency Management Coordinating Office, the American Samoa EPA and the Territorial Office of Homeland Security in the cleanup.

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