(a) General

Any private or public development which would constitute a source of pollution to the waters of American Samoa shall provide the degree of waste treatment and/or operational and management practices necessary to preserve the quality of these waters.

(b) Land Disturbing Activities

Soil particles resulting from erosion on land involved in earth work, such as the construction of public works, highways, subdivisions, private developments, and recreational, commercial, or industrial developments, or the cultivation and management of agricultural lands, shall be prevented from entering any waters of American Samoa by application of management practices and standards adopted by ASEPA and implemented by the person(s) responsible. These practices include, but are not limited to:

(1) Best management practices (BMPs) for cultivated agricultural lands. The responsible person(s) shall implement BMPs to assure removal of settleable solids originating from the cultivated area. In so doing, the responsible person(s) shall:

(A) Utilize guidelines established by ASEPA and the erosion component of the Conservation Management System as defined in the Field Office Technical Guide of the US Department of Agriculture, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and/or guidance from ASEPA. In the alternative, the responsible person(s) may design and install a combination of management and physical practices to remove the settleable solids and associated pollutants in runoff delivered from the contributing area for storms up to and including a ten year, 24 hour frequency.

(B) For cultivated areas in excess of one acre and/or within 100 feet of a surface water or such other areas as ASEPA may specify, prepare and submit an erosion and sediment control plan to the ASEPA for approval. The ASEPA shall either approve, conditionally approve or disapprove the plan. Cultivation activities ongoing as of the effective date of these standards may not proceed for more than 90 days in the absence of an approved plan. No new activity may commence until such time as ASEPA has approved the plan.

(2) BMPs for construction sites. The responsible person(s) implementing BMPs at construction sites shall:

(A) Assure that the annual total suspended solids loading from a construction site is no greater than the average annual loading prior to construction or after construction is complete and the site is permanently stabilized;

(B) Reduce annual average suspended solids loading by 80 percent based on total suspended solids loading from storms less than or equal to the 2 year/24 hour storm;

(C) For construction activities disturbing in excess of one acre or occurring within 100 feet of a surface water, ensure that the standards set forth in subdivisions (A) and (B) are met, or, in the alternative, prepare and submit a construction and post-construction erosion and sediment control plan for approval by ASEPA. For approval, the BMPs to be included in the plan must be those provided by the (g) Guidance document, guidance received from ASEPA or the Natural Resources Conservation Service, or other references, as approved by ASEPA. For construction activities disturbing in excess of one acre or within 100 feet of a surface water that are initiated after the effective date of these standards, the plan shall include measures to retain sediment on the site.

(c) On Site Disposal Systems

(1) No person may site, construct, or operate an on site disposal system except in accordance with public health rules, building codes, water quality standards, and sewer use regulations of the Territory. Failure to do so shall constitute a violation of these standards.

(2) Installation of on site disposal systems that reduce total nitrogen loading by 50 percent to ground water that is closely hydrologically connected to surface water will be required if conditions indicate that nitrogen limited surface waters may be adversely affected by excess nitrogen loading.

(d) Animal Waste Control

Improper waste disposal and contaminated runoff from confined animal facilities contribute nutrients, bacteria, viruses, other microorganisms, and sediment to streams, near shore and ground waters that lead to eutrophication, fish kills, and unsafe drinking water. In order to prevent these impacts, owners of confined animal facilities shall:

(1) Utilize animal waste control facilities that provide waste treatment, such as septic tanks and leach fields, waste storage ponds, waste storage structures, application of manure or runoff water to agricultural land, waste utilization, burial, or any other method, determined to be environmentally acceptable by the Director of ASEPA;

(2) Locate such facilities and their waste treatment facilities at least 50 feet from any water body or stream;

(3) Control all waste such that it will not contaminate near shore waters, streams, or ground waters; and

(4) Continuously operate and maintain animal waste control facilities to ensure effective treatment.

(e) Storm Water Control

To prevent negative impacts to receiving waters and ground waters as a result of disruption in natural drainage patterns caused by development, the following standards shall be required to control storm water for all new development projects and new or modified land uses:

(1) A storm water control plan shall be completed for any construction activity or temporary or permanent development determined by ASEPA to have a potential significant impact on receiving water quality or ground water quantity or quality. Such activities include, but are not limited to, confined animal facilities, construction project staging areas, highways, bridges, parking lots, structures, and facilities utilizing hazardous materials, pesticides, fertilizers or manure. The storm water control plan required by this section shall be submitted to ASEPA and approved in writing prior to commencement of any construction activity for a new project and by the date specified by ASEPA for existing land uses. The plan shall include the following:

(A) An estimate of the volume of storm water to be controlled, an assessment of the potential impacts of the storm water to be addressed, the design of BMPs and/or storm water controls, including a location map for the controls at the site, and a full description of the designs for the storm water controls.

(B) For nonstructural BMPs, a description of the management measures or methods to be used at the site to prevent the escape of pollutants to the receiving waters or ground waters. Nonstructural BMPs used in the plan shall be those contained in the document (g) Guidance or guidance from the ASEPA, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, or other source as approved by ASEPA.

(2) For the planning, development, and maintenance of new, modified, and existing land uses, avoidance and prevention of water quality impacts is required. The methods to be utilized include, but are not limited to, BMPs such as site planning, proper use, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials, avoidance of sensitive areas, and proper preparation and maintenance of drainage structures, or others as required by ASEPA.

(f) Hydromodification

In order to prevent water quality degradation and preserve valuable in stream and riparian habitat, the following practices shall be required and/or implemented by ASEPA:

(1) All projects involving hydromodification shall be evaluated to determine their impacts on the physical and chemical characteristics of surface waters as well as in stream and riparian habitat, using appropriate models and methodologies.

(2) BMPs for use in the design and/or operation of new or existing hydromodification structures shall be identified and implemented by responsible persons. BMPs include, but are not limited to, protection of existing vegetation, minimization of loads on top of stream banks, hydraulic structures, check dam systems, grade control structures, vegetative cover, in stream sediment load control, soil bioengineering; proper stream bank and shoreline erosion control design, and use of setbacks, as provided in the (g) Guidance or other references approved by ASEPA.

(3) ASEPA shall work with other ASG departments and the private sector to ensure the proper operation and maintenance of hydromodification structures.

(g) Hazardous Materials and Chemical Control

Notwithstanding any other rules in force pertaining to hazardous materials management, the following BMPs shall be implemented at facilities or construction sites where hazardous materials such as petroleum products, solvents, paints, pesticides, fertilizers, soil additives, and other chemicals in excess are stored or utilized so that contamination of streams, near shore waters, and ground waters is minimized or prevented:

(1) Proper storage of hazardous materials. All hazardous materials and chemicals shall be stored within a covered shelter; an impervious berm with a capacity of 110% of the largest container in the shelter shall be placed around the perimeter of the storage area; and appropriate construction measures shall be taken to prevent the runoff of pollutants;

(2) Proper labeling of chemicals and placement of warning signs In areas where pesticides are or have recently been applied;

(3) Proper disposal of hazardous chemicals or materials in conformance with ASEPA guidelines and/or regulations promulgated by the EQC;

(4) Proper maintenance of vehicles, equipment, and machinery in confined areas specially designed to control runoff; and

(5) Proper application of fertilizers and manure using ASEPA recommended procedures. Soil tests shall also be utilized to determine the specific nutrient needs at the site where such applications are performed.

(h) Dredging (Dredge and Dredge Spoil)

Dredging and dredged spoil discharges generally result in short-term disruption and do not represent continuous discharge that will affect beneficial uses over a long-term. Other in-water, construction-related activities, such as discharge from the dewatering of excavations and shoreline stabilization projects, can also cause short-term suspension of sediments similar to that caused by dredge and fill discharges. Effect zones may therefore be granted for dredging activities, other in-water construction-related activities, and the discharge of dredged or fill material provided that: (1) all other requirements of this Part are met; and (2) the proposed activity satisfies the policy of water quality degradation found in 24.0202 of this document.

Dredging and discharge of dredged or fill material can adversely affect colonies of reef building organisms by burying them, by releasing contaminants such as hydrocarbons into the water column, by reducing light penetration through the water, and by increasing the level of suspended particulates. Coral organisms are extremely sensitive to even slight reductions in light penetration or increases in suspended particulates (i.e., turbidity). These adverse effects will cause a loss of productive colonies which in turn provide habitat for many species of highly specialized aquatic organisms.

Dredging and discharge of dredged or fill material can also adversely affect sea grass beds by smothering vegetation and benthic organisms, and may also create unsuitable conditions for their continued vigor by: (1) changing water circulation patterns; (2) releasing nutrients that increase undesirable algal populations; (3) releasing chemicals that adversely affect plants and animals; (4) increasing turbidity levels, thereby reducing light penetration and hence photosynthesis; and (5) changing the capacity of a vegetated shallow to stabilize bottom materials and decrease channel shoaling. Dredging and the discharge of dredged or fill materials may reduce the value of vegetated shallows as nesting, spawning, nursery, cover, and forage areas, as well as their value in protecting shorelines from erosion and wave actions. It may encourage the growth of nuisance vegetation.

In granting effect zones for dredging activities, the discharge of dredged or fill material, or other in-water, construction-related activities that cause the suspension of sediments in or near coral reef resources and sea grass beds, the EQC shall assure that any disruption to beneficial uses is kept to an absolute minimum, and that all practicable measures are taken to prevent adverse impacts to resources of concern, taking into consideration the magnitude and duration of the proposed activity, and the proximity to resources of concern. This shall be satisfied by placing conditions within the applicable permit or water quality certification requiring the following:

(1) The use and maintenance of Best Management Practices (BMPs) including such measures as “silt curtains”, closed (“environmental”) buckets, hydraulic dredges, or other methods as appropriate to control the drift and extent of suspended sediment plumes beyond the location of the dredge or fill activity;

(2) Water quality monitoring requirements for turbidity and other pollutants of concern that may be identified or expected in the dredge spoil or fill material. Periodic aquatic ecosystem monitoring may also be required for the purpose of assessing the effects of the activity on resources of concern and determining the necessity of additional mitigative measures;

(3) For activities which have the potential to adversely affect coral reproduction, a stoppage period of no less than 60 days, starting 5 days after the October full moon, shall be a condition of any permit or water quality certification. In determining whether an-activity has the potential to affect coral spawning, the EQC shall consider all of the following: 1) the magnitude of the sediment plume generated by the proposed activity; 2) the most likely extent and direction(s) of drift of the sediment plume; 3) the type of sediment and its composition; and 4) the proximity of broadcast spawning coral species to the proposed activity and expected sediment plume;

(4) A specified distance up-current and down-current from the permitted activity at which applicable water quality criteria must be met (i.e, an effect zone). Effect zones for dredge and fill activities shall be kept as small as practicable, and shall not exceed 300 feet down-current and 150 feet up-current. Down-current distance may be increased to 600 feet where typical currents can be shown to make the use of BMPs ineffective; and

(5) Any additional protective measures, limitations, monitoring, or effect zone requirements that the EQC identifies as being necessary to protect resources of concern.

The EQC may require an applicant for water quality certification or permit for dredging, the discharge of dredged or fill material, or similar in-water, construction-related activities, to provide information necessary to support the -development of monitoring plans, mitigation measures, or effect zone requirements, such as engineering designs, surveys of existing currents, water quality data, and baseline ecosystem and indicator species surveys.

History: Rule 6-05, eff 2005.