The freshwater pools of Marbo Cave, a popular hiking destination for locals and visitors alike, have been filled with mud.
The site, which has suffered and survived decades of storms, typhoons and earthquakes, is now a part of an investigation into storm water mitigation at a nearby solar farm.
“We are investigating the solar farm project in the Marbo Cave area,” said Guam EPA spokesman Nicholas Lee, noting they received photos and videos last Friday of flooding, run-off and sediment.
“We have strong evidence to believe that the storm water associated with the project was not properly managed.”
Preliminary findings of Guam Environmental Protection Agency inspectors on July 23 noted:
• insufficient installation of erosion control measures on site
• strong evidence that the project did not follow the construction plans reviewed by both local and U.S. EPA
• strong evidence that sediment and storm water affected the surrounding areas, and these effects are attributed to ponding basins that were either improperly managed or incomplete in their construction
Lee said a second inspection was completed by the Environmental Monitoring and Analytical Services team at Marbo Cave site.
“EMAS observed that the pathway down to the freshwater cave had been obliterated and likely due to storm water surge, and presented with features of sediment deposit in the footpath, platform and freshwater cave,” he stated.
“The agency continues its inspection this afternoon to look for additional scouring in the surrounding areas of the project site which could be attributable to the project’s apparent failure to follow their approved construction plan.”