21 Nov 2016

American Samoans appeal for US military clean-up

4:22 pm on 21 November 2016

The American Samoa Power Authority is calling for public support to get US military funding to clean up fuel that has seeped into the ground and run off into the sea at Aua.

Authority Chief Engineer Jason Jaskoviak is urging residents to reach out to politicians and military leaders to not let the US Navy walk away from the contamination that it left behind

In the era of naval administration, a fuel tank farm was located in Aua with underground pipes from the tank depot to the canneries.

Mr Jaskoviak said there had been efforts over the years to clean up and mitigate against contamination but the situation had driven up costs of infrastructure projects in Aua and villages in the eastern district.

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa Photo: AFP / Michael Runkel / Robert Harding Premium

The US military said there was no human risk so it was not providing any further assistance.

But Mr Jaskoviak said it was not good enough.

"I can't put a pipe in the ground and then throw dirty, contaminated soil on top of that pipe. It reacts with that pipe, it could break down the pipe over time, so I have to buy more expensive pipes. I have to handle that contaminated soil, haul it away, treat it. Water that comes into this hole, now I have to treat that, because it has got oil in it. Everybody that works here is going to get hit. The taxpayers are essentially going to end up footing the bill," he said.