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March 15, 2004

Contact: Michael Mann at 475-1623 or mmann@guamepa.govguam.net

Guam EPA continues to monitor and investigate Chalan Pago hardfill fire; sensitive residents cautioned about smoke

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) continue to monitor a fire at the J&E hardfill in Chalan Pago. The fire was first reported early Saturday, and Guam EPA personnel have been on-scene monitoring the fire since Saturday morning.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Guam EPA inspectors will be examining operations at the site to ensure that the conditions of the hardfill permit were met. A hardfill is a site that accepts construction and demolition waste; it does not accept regular garbage or any material that could be deemed a health or nuisance hazard. There are currently five permitted hardfills on Guam.

Guam EPA is conducting regular air monitoring and analysis of the smoke and fumes resulting from the fire. Air monitoring sites are being used to sample oxygen levels, carbon monoxide (CO), total volatile organic compounds (VOCs), lower explosive limits, and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the residential area affected by the smoke plume.

It is possible that certain sensitive individuals such as small children, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions or respiratory problems may experience negative and irritating effects of prolonged smoke and fume exposure. Smoke from almost any source is a potential irritant and nuisance; as such, the public is advised to take the following precautions:

  1. Persons immediately down wind of the fire should avoid exposure to visible smoke.
  2. Persons working near the fire should be equipped with respirators and dermal protection.
  3. Persons with heart or respiratory ailments should avoid the area, stay indoors, and reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity at this time.
  4. Small children, the elderly, homebound individuals having limited mobility, and individuals suffering from respiratory illness should seek appropriate medical advice if they are affected by heavy smoke concentrations from the fire.
  5. Avoid prolonged exposure to smoke when undertaking physical activity.
  6. Remain indoors if it will reduce exposure to and irritation from smoke.
  7. Healthy people may experience breathing problems and eye or nose irritations. Health risks may increase during high smog and heat levels, particularly to those who play sports or exercise outdoors, cyclists, and/or those who are active outside (e.g., gardeners).

For more information, please call 475-1658/9.


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URL: https://guamepa.govguam.net/programs/admin/news2004/031504.html
Last update: 15 March 2004

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