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<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

8.6 Policy and institutional framework (Topic f)

There is a general lack of effective policy, regulation and institutional structure within the Regionís water sector. Also more emphases is placed on providing safe water to households than the disposal of wastewater, and the protection of the environment. Stormwater disposal is given even less attention regarding policy and regulations.

8.6.1 Regulatory framework

In the old American associated SIDS, where wastewater disposal is generally regulated by the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) established in each country or state. EPA standards are normally very strict requiring resources that are not available in most SIDS to ensure compliance. This works satisfactorily in Guam and American Samoa. In other countries/states regulations exist, but there are little or no resources allocated to monitor and enforce regulation compliance. Hence the environment continues to suffer at the expense of wastewater disposal.

Health Departments in some SIDS monitor groundwater and surface waters for pollution but again they have little authority and resources to act accordingly. Many countries in the Region have neither regulations nor standards regarding the discharge of wastes into the environment. Building code standards for septic tank sizing and construction exist throughout the Region, but this do not guarantee an adequate discharge quality. Little attention is given to the disposal of septic tank effluent into the ground, which is a common source of groundwater pollution.

8.6.2 Institutional arrangement

Table 8.4: Agencies Responsible for Wastewater Disposal

Country/State Wastewater Discharges Monitoring and Standards
American Samoa American Samoa Power Authority EPA monitoring and standards
Cook Islands Individuals No monitoring or standards
Kosrae, FSM Dept. of Transportation & Utility No monitoring; US EPA standards
Pohnpei, FSM Pohnpei Utilities Corporation EPA monitoring and standards
Chuuk, FSM Chuuk Public Utilities Corporation EPA monitoring and standards
Yap, FSM Yap State†Public Services Corp EPA monitoring and standards
Palau Ministry of Natural Resources & Development  
Fiji Ministry of Communication, Works and Energy Ministry of Environment; no standards
Guam Guam Water Works Authority EPA monitoring and standards
Kiribati Public Utilities Board No monitoring or standards
Nauru Nauru Phosphate Company No monitoring or standards
New Caledonia ND ND
Niue Individuals No monitoring or standards
Mariana Islands Commonwealth Utilities Corp. EPA?
Papua New Guinea The Water Board plus private companies Royal Commission Standards
Marshall Islands Majuro Water & Sewer Company EPA monitoring and standards
Solomon Islands Solomon Islands Water Board No monitoring or standards
Tokelau Individuals No monitoring or standards
Tonga Individuals Health Dept. monitors groundwater
Tvualu Individuals No monitoring or standards
Vanuatu Individuals  
Western Samoa Samoa Water Board No monitoring or standards
Schychells Public Utilities Corporation Ministry of Environment & Transportation monitor pollution
Individuals = responsible for provide own disposals facilities ND = No Data

National management of water sector activities within the Region is generally very fragmented with many ministries, government departments, boards, authorities and utilities responsible for an array of activities. Table 8.4 indicates the responsible agencies for the disposal of wastewater for urban areas in the Region. Note that rural areas and outer islands usually come under national health departments for providing assistance in sanitation issues.

8.6.3 Policy framework

Most government polices are general, stating that everyone should have access to safe water and sanitation facilities plus the importance of a healthy environment. However with limited monetary and human resources, most countries relay on bilateral support in the development of national master plans. Often these master plans suggest policy and legislation changes and additions to enable the implementation of sound wastewater disposal practices. Also loaning agencies, like the Asian Development Bank, may put conditions on loans to encourage sustainable sanitation development.

Governments must provide the framework, through policy and legislation, to allow its implementing bodies (ie government departments, utilities, boards or authorities) to be able to operate efficiently. The results would be better disposal systems, healthier people and a cleaner environment. This can be difficult for promoting polices like "user pays" that would provide the resources to improved wastewater disposal methods and the environment, would be very unpopular with both the public and politicians.

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