Lack of public information causing frustration

By: L.N. Reklai

July 4, 2016 (Koror, Palau) For over two months now, raw sewage had been flowing directly into the ocean from 8 pump stations in Koror.  Reports of raw sewage pouring out of manholes in many areas of Koror including Malakal where it is flowing into offices and buildings, is putting people working in these areas in dangerous and unhealthy situations.  Staffs of Koror State Rangers Office in Malakal have been wearing rubber boots and face masks to work every day due to sewage flowing into their offices.


“Nobody from Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) has shown up when we called them numerous times.  They only promised they will be there to see but no one is showing up and telling us what is going on,” says KGS employee who did not want to be identified.  “We have to be open 24/7, but this is becoming unbearable,” added staffs in this office.

Lack of information coming from PPUC about this sewage problem is frustrating the public. “We need to know from PPUC what they are doing or planning to do to solve the problem so that we can address our people’s concerns,” said Governor Adachi of Koror State.  “This is PPUC’s job and we cannot tell them what to do but we need to be informed,” he added.

Koror State Rangers Office in Malakal has raw sewage flowing into it and down to the ocean for the last 3 weeks.  “Our people can’t work like this but we have to provide a service and so it is a challenge,” added Adachi.

According information from the Office of the President, President Remengesau is calling an emergency meeting with PPUC Board and management today to address the situation.

Key agencies that should be advised of possible health hazards such as Environmental Health and EQPB, have not been informed by PPUC of the situation.

“I don’t understand why PPUC says that the sewage treatment plant is overflowing when most of the pump stations in Koror are not working properly and not sending the sewage to the plant.  Also, the manholes are overflowing in that area of Malakal because the pump station at Francisco’s area is broken and can’t send the sewage down to the treatment plant,” stated an experienced employee who didn’t want to be named.

In 2007 and 2013, over $4million dollars was invested in upgrading the pump stations in Koror.  When asked why these pumps were not working after just short time, the experienced employee stated that the poor power source to these pumps is the source of failure.  The source claims that lack of planning and poor management is to blame for these problems.

According to reliable source, PPUC is still debating whether to get the parts for the broken pumps or send them out for service.  No vendor has been identified and the problem has been going on for months already.

Attempts to get information on the status of the sewer situation from PPUC yesterday were unsuccessful.

Environmental Quality Protection Board had issued a moratorium on any new connections to public sewer system that would have “significant input” into the system until the public sewer system is improved. [/restrict]