Koror, Palau – On February 3, 2017, the Environmental Quality Protection Board held its regularly scheduled board meeting to discuss permits (Commercial and Government/NGO) as well as a few legal matters.

There was 1 approved residential application of Ngirameketii Elbuchel Sadang for the construction of two houses connected to an onsite septic system in Choll, Ngaraard. [/restrict]

Approved commercial applications included: Better BC Holdings/George Chen to construct a 250 room hotel at Ngeruluobel, Airai, specifically on a State leased land called Ngermiich.  Airai State Government held a public hearing for this project on December 15, 2016 to discuss the scope, environmental impact and mitigations proposed by the projects, afterwhich final detailed plans and mitigations were submitted to EQPB.  Specifically, the hotel will be using a wastewater system that will not have effluent discharges to the environment because all wastewater and sludge will be recycled on site and maintained by the company.

Another project that the Board reviewed and approved was for Uchel Tmetuchel’s request to relocate the Palau National Quarry Batch Plant from its current location in Malakal to a flat fill area behind KB Shell at Ngetkib, Airai.  The Board also reviewed and approved a request of Kuye Belelai to renovate the Sunset Park Building at T-Dock, Koror State, former Sunset Park Restaurant and Bar into office space and apartment units for workers.  While this project had minimal earthmoving activities, the Board had to ensure that the new office spaces and apartment units for the workers had adequate wastewater system and plans to address the increase of sewage and wastewater from the area.  All sewage from this building will be discharged to the public sewerage system as approved by Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC).  Finally, the Board reviewed and approved the application of Landmark Marina Hotel at M-Dock, Koror State to construct a rip-rap wall on the backside of the hotel to replace the existing wall that had experienced damage over the years.

Approved Government/NGO applications included: PPUC and its Contractor Egis Eau to install sewerage pipes and replace or renovate sewer pump stations from Ngerkebesang to Malakal where Sewer Pump Station 2, near Gibbon’s residence is, as part of the KASP Project; Bureau of Public Works and its contractor IA Construction Company to demolish and construct an abai called Bai ra Ngaraoldiang at Ngechesar State. The Board also reviewed a request by the Bureau of Marine Resources to demolish and construct a new Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center at Malakal, Koror State.   This project will take place within the existing footprint of the Mariculture Center.  Lastly, the Board reviewed and approved PPUC’s amendment request to its current permit to change the work schedule for the Water Improvement Project for Routes B, C, and D (which is from the PVA intersection to the Ngerkesoal enterance) to 24 hours.  This request was made as PPUC would like to speed up the work of the water pipe project in order to make way for the new sewage pipe project. Cognizant of the congested road traffic during the daytime and the urgency of PPUC and its Japan Contractor Tobishima to finish the water pipe project without much delay, the Board approved this permit amendment request for a 24 hour operations at Routes stated above.

Applicants are reminded that although their permits have been approved, work should not commence until they have obtained the signed permit with conditions set by the Board.  The Board will continue to monitor these projects to ensure that the environmental protection plans for the specific project are implemented as they should to prevent any damages to the surrounding environment.  The Board urges all permittees and contractors to consult with EQPB if they need any assistance with their permitted project.

For legal matters, the Board discussed and issued an Order for the Notice of Violation NOV 17-10 issued to PPUC relating to an unpermitted discharge of raw sewage from a Pump Station in Ngesekes, Koror State.  The raw sewage discharges has been on-going for at least two months now, and the discharged sewage goes down to taro patches and eventually discharges into the mangrove area behind the Penthouse Hotel.  This is in violation of EQPB’s Regulations on Toilet and Wastewater Disposal Systems, and Marine and Freshwater Quality.  The Board also issued an Order for Notice of Violation NOV 17-11 issued to Camsek Chin, Baoyufeng Vacation Hotel, and Zhanggui Chen, for violation of EQPB’s Regulations on Earthmoving, Marine and Freshwater Quality, Toilet Facilities and Wastewater Disposal Systems Requirements, and Air Quality Regulation.

The Board also held a public hearing with Rusty Rhodas and Johnson Iechad regarding Order 17-08 that was issued to them for violation of Earthmoving and Toilet Facilities and Wastewater Disposal Systems Requirements Regulations.

For more information, please call the EQPB office at 488-1639/3600. [/restrict]