For businesses and residents in and around the Island Equipment Co. compound in Tamuning a giant pond forms — large enough to swallow most cars and businesses and dwellings are flooded.
Residents of Pacific Towers condominiums are forced to take alternative routes to exit the building grounds.
The ponding issue is the cumulative result of many problems. One of these is the storm water that pours over the cliff line behind the Pacific Towers complex and runoff from other properties in the area that is not reaching storm drains.
The other is a wastewater [sewage] pump station located in the center of the drainage plain that becomes overwhelmed by the ponding. This negates its primary purpose to push wastewater up to a channel that runs under Marine Corps Dr. The problem is so bad that the pumps routinely breaks causing everything to stop moving and sewage backups.
One of the areas where runoff starts is from the Guam International Airport. Island Equipment Co. filed a complaint with the airport on June 4.
Jesse Q. Torres executive manager of the Guam International Airport said that he was just recently made aware of the June 4 complaint which has been forwarded to the airport’s legal council for review. “It’s a carryover from the old Navy days. There is runoff that does go down to that particular area in Tamuning.” Torres said he could not comment further.
A village meeting has been called by Concepcion B. “Connie” Duenas mayor of Tamuning for Aug. 24 when it is hoped that all parties can come together on a solution to the drainage problems.
However Gary W.F. “Frank” Gumataotao executive vice president and general manager for Island equipment Co. told the Journal that a long-term solution had been found. This included the design and planned construction of a wastewater pump station. The purchase of a generator and back-up pumps had been made to correct the problem years ago “We agreed to design-build to GovGuam specifications and transfer ownership of a complete wastewater pump station but it never happened “ he said. “Officials had personally given their word all up the line but until something is signed it doesn’t mean a thing.”
He said officials in the Gutierrez-Bordallo administration never acted. “The agreement only needed the governor’s signature but that never happened so it looks like we are back to square one.”
At the heart of the complaint is the request for the airport and surrounding properties to hold their water or re-direct its flow.
A January 1996 complex drainage study was also commissioned by Island Equipment and prepared by the engineering firm of Duenas & Associates Inc. The report contains a number of proposals to correct the situation costing anywhere from a $27 500 quick fix to a permanent long-term improvement with a price tag of over $500 000.
Even with a long-term solution the report said “On-site improvements will not necessarily alleviate all the flooding because off-site areas contribute approximately 88% of the total runoff.”
Ana Liz T. Connor building manager for Pacific Towers said the problem has grown in such size that tenants have to park outside assigned parking areas. She said the Pacific Towers Homeowners Association also contributed large sums of money and were partners in Island Equipment Co.’s attempt to fix the problem.
”It gets to be a real mess and people don’t want to park in a lake. There was a fix that I thought had been agreed upon several years ago but it seems that went out the window when the administration changed hands. My hope is that we can all come to some sort of a solution at the planned mayor’s meeting.”
David Craddick general manager of the Guam Waterworks Authority said it was his understanding that a new wastewater lift station was to have been built. “They said they were going to build a new station — one that is built to standard and not just solely for their use because it has to serve the whole area in order for us to take control.”
He said the waterworks authority could not take over equipment that would benefit just one user. He said the matter was also a Department of Public Works issue.
“We have been working with them [Island Equipment and Pacific Towers] trying to get something built but we wanted to make sure we identified all the [drainage] areas and that the build-out could occur in those areas ” Craddick said.
He said he was not against a fully constructed and operating waste-water pump station as a solution but said GWA would not use ratepayers’ money for private business needs. “The CCU said we weren’t going to do anymore of that building for private developers. If a private developer wants us to take over something then they have to build it to standard. When they do we will take it over and operate it.”
Gordon S. Leon Guerrero property manager for Island Equipment Co. has named the pond “Lake Tamuning.’’ ”The company is losing anywhere in the neighborhood of $75 000 to $100 000 a year because apartments we own next door at Royal Hawaiian cannot be leased.”
He said the flooding affected a number of properties. “The flooding starts north and east of the Island Equipment Co. parcel with waves of water streaming down Tun Juan Rivera Way into our building causing damage to the premises occupied by Pacific Charlie New Oriental Market Fine Line Extreme Recreation and Titan Imports.”
According to Guam law an agency of the government has six months to review the claim and then either deny or approve it. During that time parties cannot seek judicial review.
Christopher A. Lund chief engineer for the Guam Environmental Protection Agency said there are environmental issues surrounding the problem. “Because the wastewater probably contains oil from a nearby bus company garage.” MBJ