Carter orders additional testing of As Terlaje tank water sample


U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge David O. Carter has ordered an additional testing of water samples from the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s As Terlaje tank to monitor concentration levels of chemicals that may contaminate CUC’s drinking water and pose a threat to public health.

According to the minutes of court chamber proceeding Monday, Carter ordered one more test to be conducted in mid-to-late June so he will receive test results on or before July 8.

Carter said CUC informed him that it drew water samples from the As Terlaje tank last Feb. 4. He said the samples were shipped to California for testing and were received last Feb. 7. Carter received the results last Feb. 20.

CUC’s laboratory manager Heidi Yelin got the results on that same day, Feb. 20.

Assistant attorney general Jose Mafnas Jr., counsel for CUC, informed Carter and Attorney General Edward Manibusan that the final results tested that perfluorooctaine sulfonates was at 25 parts per trillion and that perfluorooctanoic acid was a non-defect.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory level is 70 parts per trillion in a water system.

The concentrated water samples were delivered to As Terlaje tank from the Isley wells after two wells were shut off.

CUC’s drinking water and waste water division manager Randy Blackcloud described the test results as “encouraging.”

Last Jan. 31, CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho told Carter that CUC shut down two contaminated wells a day before, Jan. 30, after Carter advised to go through all water wells on Saipan and determine which are to be taken offline due to contamination.

U.S. public health officer Travis Spaeth stated in his report that “contaminants still exceed the health advisory level in the identified water wells.”

Last Jan. 8, CUC issued a health advisory that it had detected levels of two contaminants—PFOs and PFOA—that exceeded EPA’s health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion in a water system.

CUC identified the affected areas as Chalan Laulau, Iliying, Chalan Kiya, As Terlaje, Kannat Tabla, Fina Sisu, Oleai, and parts of southern Garapan, Gualo Rai, Susupe, As Lito, and As Perdido. As Terlaje tank provides water supply to these areas.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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