Monitoring & Assessment Of Fresh Water Pollution

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Monitoring & Assessment of Fresh Water Pollution

Monitoring & Assessment of Fresh Water Pollution

Monitoring & Assessment of Fresh Water Pollution


The small, steep watersheds and periodic intense rainfall cause highly variable flows in the nearly 260 miles of American Samoa's perennial streams. Despite these highly variable flows, the streams of American Samoa support a variety of aquatic species, several of which may be harvested for consumption. Designated uses include potable water supplies, support of indigenous wildlife, and aesthetic and recreational enjoyment (De la Torre, 1999, 313). Stream water quality is most affected by development along a stream that changes the hydrology and shade along a stream, by development within a watershed that causes erosion and increased turbidity, and by nutrient and bacterial pollution from poorly constructed human and pig waste disposal systems. In some areas, improved service by sewage lines and subsequent decrease in the number of poorly constructed septic systems, as well as improved pig waste management, has improved stream water quality.


Ground Waters

The Tafuna-Leone plain is the site of the majority of American Samoa?s residential and business development. The plain is also the site of the majority of the wells that pump ground water for distribution. Because volcanic stratum of Tutuila is highly permeable and does not have a great capacity to filter, there is a constant risk of groundwater contamination as pollution migrates from the surface with rainwater. The greatest threats to groundwater quality in American Samoa are pesticide residues, pollutants associated with automobiles, and pathogen and nutrient pollution from poorly constructed human and pig waste disposal systems (Hellawell, 1986). As in many small tropical islands with highly permeable soils, the fresh water aquifer floats on a layer of salt water beneath the ground. Rare dry periods of two- to three-months duration can result in critical drinking water shortages as salt water intrudes on the depleted fresh water lens (Lean, 1990). The territory suffered its worst drought of historical record in 1974. In 1998 the Territory experienced a drought, but not as severe as the 1974 drought, and there was not a noticeable increase in chlorides in the drinking water.


American Samoa possesses a number of small but very important wetland habitats. The wetlands include coastal mangrove swamps, inland freshwater marshes and some cultivated taro fields. Designated uses include support of indigenous aquatic and terrestrial life, fishing, food cultivation and gathering, recreation, flood control and groundwater recharge. Wetlands in the territory are being lost or degraded by urban growth and development as a result of population increase.

Open Ocean Waters

Designated uses of open ocean waters include fishing, scientific investigations, boating, support of marine life, and recreation. While there is a small offshore fishery, it is unknown whether offshore waters are affected by pollution. High strength wastes (high solids, high nitrogen, high phosphorus) from the tuna canneries are dumped in a designated zone approximately five miles offshore. Monitoring shows that the waste has no more than a localized effect, and is in compliance with the canneries Ocean Dumpling permit (Naik, ...
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