Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Land Revitalization in the Outer Pacific Islands
Department of Public Lands
Brownfields & RCRA
World War II (WWII) military occupation and warfare left millions of pounds of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This UXO is a direct threat to public health since it may detonate if disturbed, and may also threaten soil, surface water and groundwater. The CNMI Dept. of Environmental Quality has located numerous areas on the Islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota that require assessment and clearance.
Starting in 2006, EPA awarded Brownfields assessment and cleanup grants to the CNMI Dept. of Public Lands. They are currently clearing UXO at the Marpi Village Homestead site on the north end of Saipan.
Both CNMI and EPA are consulting with the US Fish & Wildlife Service regarding potential endangered species impacts from the cleanup and development. Several endangered birds and the Mariana fruit bat have been observed in the area. Biological surveys are being conducted, and conservation measures are being identified to avoid and minimize these impacts. CNMI has set aside a large area as a mitigation bank for the future survival of these unique species. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry is also assisting CNMI with a health monitoring project to document the dangers of UXO, and provide public education and outreach about these hazards. EPA has finalized a unique agreement under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) with the CNMI Dept. of Public Safety to safely store and treat UXO at the Marpi Point open detonation area. Previously, EPA issued emergency permits for this activity, but now CNMI will have the authority to quickly and safely store and dispose of this hazardous waste.
- 153 acres on Saipan are being cleared of WWII UXO.
- 500 new homesteads are being created for local residents.
- Safe disposal of UXO, collected across the entire island of Saipan, will allow for continued redevelopment elsewhere.
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