27 Nov 2009

American Samoa Environmental agency seeks help from Federal govt

11:41 am on 27 November 2009

The American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency has requested help of the Federal Government in identifying the source of the petroleum leak which has contaminated the Pala Lagoon water.

The agency has received numerous complaints of strong odours emanating from the water at Pala Lagoon and an investigation has been carried out to identify possible sources.

Water and soil samples had been sent off-island for analysis which indicated high levels of petroleum products exceeding the U.S. National Recommended Water Quality Criteria.

The agency's director, Dr Toafa Vaiagae, says levels this high present significant risks to public health and the public should avoid swimming in Pala Lagoon while an investigation is ongoing.

He says results from the soil testing are still pending and the source of the petroleum product and odour remain under investigation.

He also says the agency has requested the Assistance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Emergency Response Program to identify the source, nature and extent of the contamination.