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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

American Samoa (Section 319I - 1994)

When geographic features and agricultural factors combine in a watershed, the results are sometimes unpleasant and unsafe. However, the villages of American Samoa can look to one successful project and emulate its achievement in using practices to clean up and curb nonpoint source pollution.

Active Villagers Get Streams Under Control

Lauli'i Village had nonpoint source pollution problems not significantly different from those of most local - villages. It also had a distinct advantage --strong village leadership and active groups ready take action.

The village is located in a watershed with one main stream and several feeder streams leading out of the valley into the ocean. Villagers raise pigs and operate family taro and banana farms. The problems came during heavy rains when the main stream overflowed, flooding the elementary school, the main road, and property along the streambank. The flood waters deposited trash and solid waste into the stream and beach, and carried soil from farms and yards into the stream and subsequently the coastal waters. And piggery waste was swept into the fray.

In 1992, the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) received $65,000 to establish a demonstration project to develop and implement a comprehensive watershed protection project for priority watersheds--and Lauli'i Village was certainly a priority.

The project began with an assessment by a government interagency work group. It determined the most critical problem was stormwater control. With government equipment and assistance, an engineering consultant hired by the ASEPA, and the cooperation of the mayor and council, the village went to work. Local youth and church groups cleaned up and rechannelized the streams, removed solid waste from the streams and beaches, constructed and painted trash containers and platforms, and undertook other beautification activities.

SCS and ASEPA helped farmers adopt soil erosion control planting techniques and move septic tanks for piggeries and residential cesspools away from the stream. Stream monitoring continues. And the village is producing a video to document this successful project for other villages with similar problems.


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