This was the common assessment of the District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, GovGuam officials, department heads, federal agency representatives, and attorneys in the consent decree compliance case after hearing the First Quarterly Report of the receiver yesterday.
What government of Guam failed to do for years was initially accomplished by GBB in only three months, leaving the old management of the Department of Public Works Solid Waste Management Division not only in agreement with the receiver, but also in support of their plans.
"It is really different now. You can see the big difference. We don't smell the dump as often as before," Milli Sablan, an Ordot resident, told the Variety.
After reviewing the dump's 22-year history in violation of the Clean Water Act and the initial meetings between SWMD employees and other agencies involved, the receiver was able to identify their numerous challenges.
The first GBB court report presented by Chace Anderson, David Manning, and Harvey Gershman mentioned the dismal situation of solid waste management with inoperable equipment and a hazardous working environment for workers before the receiver's appointment.
Anderson reported that while dedicated staff were forced to work against tremendous obstacles to maintain basic trash collection and disposal services, almost all of the government-owned equipment was in a state of despair, with most if it inoperable due to a lack of parts and maintenance.
Government-owned trash trucks operate almost 24 hours each day leaving no time for regular maintenance, thus resulting in a cycle of high rental cost and poor service. Before GBB, SWMD operated with one owned truck, while the rest were rented from private firms costing taxpayers $4 million every year.
The chief judge reacted by asking why SWMD rented instead of paying for the repair or buying $250,000 worth of new trucks, Anderson informed the court that suppliers are no longer transacting or giving credits to DPW or GovGuam due to its long standing debts.
The cost of the rental of equipment varies day to day but averages around $11,000 per day, and SWMD has rented the equipment for almost four years.