With people being kept indoors following Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ stay-home directive, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality assures that it continues to monitor the public water system to ensure that water is safe to use.
Division of Environmental Quality director Jonathan Arriola said that BECQ has always been monitoring the public water system to make sure there are no contaminants going into it.
“Especially now, with a lot of people staying home, using their water at home, there will be an increase in water usage, so we just want to make sure that the water that’s running, that’s coming out from your tap is actually safe to use,” he said.
Safe Drinking Water Program manager Travis Spaeth echoed Arriola, and added that the SDW branch has been active in continuing efforts to ensure compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. “We continue to upload reporting data to our database that is linked with [the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]. We continue to ensure sampling is completed by all water systems, and manage our day to day operations.”
In addition, Spaeth disclosed that BECQ has worked with multiple agencies on bringing back the former Mariana Resort & Spa as a water system.
“They have been inactive for quite awhile so what that entailed was working with all partner agencies on installing a new pump and motor at one of their wells, disinfecting the well, disinfecting two storage tanks and the distribution system,” Spaeth said. “[The Commonwealth Utilities Corp.] took samples at the well and each tank and once the samples came back negative of total coliforms and e-coli, we were able to approve them activating the system again.”
Rep. Sheila Babauta (Ind-Saipan), in a livestream Sunday night, said that Mariana Resort is a quarantine facility, like Kanoa Resort, which is currently being used to quarantine COVID-19 persons under investigation, particularly those who have recently traveled to the CNMI.
As for Kanoa, Spaeth said that the hotel is already an active community water system so BECQ just continues to ensure that they complete their regular monitoring over time. “We continue to monitor to prevent any setbacks with the community water systems as a preventative measure to keep people as safe as possible.”
Spaeth stressed that it is important to continue to monitor drinking water as any disruptions to public water systems, that could allow contaminants in, would only increase issues with the health of all customers.