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Coral reef ecosystem stressors in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Coral reef ecosystem stressors in the U.S. Virgin Islands

http://coris.noaa.gov/about/eco_essays/virgin_islands/eco_stressors.html

Coral reefs are among the World’s most delicate and vulnerable ecosystems.  A number of events and circumstances can effect them drastically resulting in degradation and even death.  Scientists who study coral reefs have coined the term “stressors” to describe these events and circumstances.  Some of these stressors are thought to be anthropologic in origin (pollution, ship damage, over-fishing, etc), while others are regarded as natural (earthquakes, tropical storms, disease, etc).  The number of stressors effecting coral reefs varies, but the following have been clearly identified in the U.S. Virgin Islands:

Diseases

Corals are susceptible to a number of different diseases.  Four kinds of coral diseases have so far been recognized in the USVI: black band, yellow-blotch, white plague, and dark spot (Nemeth, et al., 2003).  Very little is known about the causative agents of these diseases, but microbial pathogens have been identified in at least five cases.  As with coral bleaching, the recent increases in severity of coral diseases may be a consequence of global warming.

After the dramatic 2005 bleaching event in the Caribbean, corals also suffered significant losses due to a post-bleaching disease outbreak. There was a greater than 2,000 percent increase in disease lesions and nearly 800% increase in denuded skeleton caused by disease over pre-bleaching levels. Mortality was primarily from white plague and resulted in the loss of 52 percent live coral cover from more than 30 acres of coral reef (Rothenberger et al., 2008).

Coastal development and runoff

Coastal sedimentation resulting from heavy rainfall and excessive runoff has been a natural occurrence in the Virgin Islands since the Holocene sea level rise.  However, the causes of coastal sedimentation have clearly shifted from natural to anthropogenic origin.  In the U.S. Virgin Islands this increase in runoff and the resulting increased sedimentation can be attributed to increased population with the resulting need for more housing, roads, and other development.  This is particularly true in St. John and St. Thomas where steep mountain slopes allow rapid runoff (Brooks, et al., 2007).  Nemeth and Nowlis (2001) have pointed out a direct relationship between shoreline development in St. Thomas and increased sedimentation in Caret Bay during periods of heavy rainfall.

Coastal pollution

As in other Caribbean islands, coastal pollution has long been a major problem in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Both biological and chemical (industrial) pollution are evident.  Bacterial contamination of coastal waters is a primary problem caused by numerous point and nonpoint sources.  Heavy rainfall sometimes overloads existing sewage systems resulting in severe pollution of coastal waters.  In 2003 there were eighty days in which beaches were closed because of biological contamination.  In St. Croix, a rum factory discharges waste water directly into the sea forming a plume which can be traced for about 10 km from its point of origin (Jeffrey, et al., 2005)

 

How Pollution Affects Coral Reefs

http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/visions/coral/side.html

 

In the coming years, remote coral reef ecosystems will be impacted primarily by global environmental changes. Reefs in close proximity to human populations, however, will also be faced with local stresses, including poor water quality from land-based sources of pollution.

Land-based Pollution Sources

 

Runoff from this pipe in the U.S. Virgin Islands spews directly into the ocean only a few hundred yards from reefs. Click image for larger view and image credit.


Pollution from land-based sources is a primary cause of coral reef degradation throughout the world. In the Caribbean, for example, approximately 80 percent of ocean pollution originates from activities on land. As human populations expand in coastal areas, development alters the landscape, increasing runoff from land. Runoff often carries large quantities of sediment from land-clearing, high levels of nutrients from agricultural areas and sewage outflows, and pollutants such as petroleum products and pesticides. These land-based sources of pollution threaten coral reef health.

Excess nutrients result in poor water quality, leading to decreased oxygen and increased nutrients in the water (eutrophication). This can lead to enhanced algal growth on reefs, crowding out corals and significantly degrading the ecosystem. In addition, sediment deposited onto reefs smothers corals and interferes with their ability to feed and reproduce. Finally, pesticides interfere with coral reproduction and growth. Sewage discharge and runoff may also introduce pathogens into coral reef ecosystems. For example, Aspergillus sydowii has been associated with a disease in sea fans, and Serratia marcescens, has been linked to white pox, another coral disease.

How Pollution Affects Coral Reefs

 

Not Following Court Order – Continues to Dump Raw Sewage

From: Susan Wolterbeek [mailto:susan@greenervi.org]

Sent: Monday, April 04, 2011 2:51 PM
To: ‘Gonzalez.EduardoJ@epamail.epa.gov’
Cc: ‘Feinmark.Phyllis@epamail.epa.gov’; ‘SueParten@aol.com’
Subject:

 

Dear Eduardo:

 

Since the court has just given you a week to report on whether 50,000 is enough for a pump repair emergency fund, I hope the following information may be of help. In order to state the facts, you would want to let the court know about all the pumps which have broken down since last year, and then it follows logically that you would want and need to tell the court that VIWMA is in contempt of the 3/18/10 Order.  In looking at the utter contempt for which VIWMA regards federal district court orders, a good place to start is with this 5/4/2010 letter to Carl Soderberg. I have added updates in blue:

 

     Susan K. Wolterbeek, Esq.     St. Thomas, VI 00803-6658      (340) 714-2233      susanremy@vipowernet.net

 

                                                                                      May 4, 2010

Dear Director Soderberg:

                                          I am writing to you as a stateside attorney, former Assistant District Attorney for the State of New York, and a resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thank you for your response. It appears from the Federal District Court Order, your response, May Adams Cornwall’s statement to the Press and lack of public announcements, that 4 specific orders are not being followed:

 

  1. “that the VIWMA shall comply with the public notification requirements listed in the Territorial  Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits.” It was my understanding from speaking with Mr. Casey that the announcements should be given on all three islands. There is a DEP Press Release dated February 5, 2010 monitoring a raw sewage discharge at Frenchtown Boat Ramp in St. Thomas, but there were no DEP Press releases in January, February or March stating VIWMA was dumping 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage per day, and that people should stay out of those waters. When VIWMA again dumped raw sewage from April 24-27th, there was no DEP Press release or any other warning I could find on VIWMA or DPNR websites, the VI Daily News, or television.  The only announcements that I have seen are the VIWMA commercials saying they are “preserving paradise”.

Note: VIWMA and DPNR are still willfully refusing to comply with public notification requirements, and NO ONE is making them comply. According to Jamal Neilsen Media Relations Coordinator of DPNR, the hotels do not want them to post warnings, and it would not be fair if DPNR only posted on non-hotel beaches. Mr. Neilsen said tourists could learn of the discharges by listening to the radio when announcements are given. The few press releases given in 2011 were each only printed once, not in the prescribed form, and not published every day there were on-going bypasses. Thus, unless a person happened to read the paper on the one day it was published, even with on-going bypasses, for weeks or months, that person would have no idea there was an on-going bypass.  You could send a copy of the specific, required Public Notice, attached, and ask the Editor in Chief of the St. Croix Avis and VI Daily News whether they have printed such notices since March 18, 2010, and to send you copies of any bypass information they printed.

  1.  “that two auxiliary diesel pumps shall be operational on St. Croix, the first by Wednesday, March 24, 2010, and the second by Friday, March 26, 2010.

You stated in your response; “Regarding the pumping stations in St. Croix, we learned yesterday that two auxiliary diesel pumps at LBJ are currently not operational.”

 

Surely there was a certification by VIWMA saying they were operational. My letter to Mr. Soderberg prompted him to inquire and to find out, surprise, surprise, that the above pumps WERE NOT operational. What happened then? Were they ever fixed?

 

  1. In an attempt to comply with orders concerning the Figtree pump station, Mr. Aubin certified that VIWMA took a house pump from the LBJ station. Doesn’t that then put the LBJ station at risk? By prior order of August 31, 2003, all house pumps must be operational at all times. Is LBJ currently operational with a house pump and back-up pumps? In light of your above response, LBJ appears at risk.

On Friday April 16, 2010, the VI Daily News reported that Waste Management Authority   Executive Director May Adams Cornwall stated “The LBJ pump station is also down one pump.” and “”We do not have expectations to see anything like what happened at Figtree to happen on any of the islands again,” Cornwall said. It happened 8 days later.

Indeed, according to a statement by VIWMA released on 4/27/10, “because of a broken force main”, VIWMA again dumped raw sewage over Long Reef from 4/24 through 4/27  “to reduce the impact to the adjacent neighborhood and prevent sewer overflows in Christiansted town and surrounding areas.”

 

I later learned that from 4-28-2010 until at least 5-3-2010, LBJ broke down and sewage was again diverted over Long Reef. Please note that there was no Non-Compliance Report of this event in those reports I forwarded to you from Mr. Casey. LBJ had a broken force main September 8-11th, as well. Also note from the Non-Compliance Discharge Report List that  Barren Spot had pump failure from September5-8th, just before the LBJ force main break.

This year, from 1-27-2011 until 2-9-2011 13 days of bypassing occurred during the installation of LBJ’s new force main, (written up as 10 days, 11.5 hours).

 

  1. Steve Aubin, Chief Operating Officer certified to the Federal District Court on March 23, 2010, that St. Thomas’ Cancryn Pump Station, the island’s main station, has pumps that are operational and back-up pumps that can manage the effluent flow.

However, on Friday April 16, 2010, the VI Daily News reported that Waste Management Authority   Executive Director May Adams Cornwall stated that the Cancryn Station “has been without a working pump for close to nine months, Cornwall said. A contractor is diverting flow around Cancryn to another station while cleaning takes place. The station should be back up and running by the end of April, Cornwall said.”  Cornwall’s statement shows Aubin’s certification in March to be invalid.

 

From 2/24/2011-3/2/2011 there were Force Main Breaks at both Hovensa and Fig Tree Pump Stations. Further, on January 4, 2011 the Weymouth Rhymer Pump Station had a Force Main Break, which is described in duration as ONGOING. Is this station still bypassing, today? Did it stop? When? Where is the Non-Compliance Report?

 

You state that the EPA is concerned that VIWMA has been dumping 1.2 million gallons per day of untreated sewage into our coastal waters. DPNR, DEP and the local EPA knew about this in January, and you did not stop it, and the local agencies have allowed this dumping to happen, on and off,  for decades.  Even after I reported it to the EPA, on February 6, 2010, all of the above agencies allowed VIWMA to dump a further 46.8 million gallons of raw sewage until mid-March, 2010.

 

Director Soderberg, what follows is a rough analysis I have prepared since your email on Friday, focusing on environmental impacts, rather than threat to human health. However, it should be noted that VIWMA had been again diverting wastewater flow to sea over Long Reef from 4/24/10-4/27/10 and advised “anyone with a compromised immune system to continue to avoid Long Reef until the Department of Planning and Natural Resources declares the beach safe for water activity.”

 

Then there was the Ironman Triatholon a few days later.  Instead of having the race at another location, the athletes in the Iron Man Triathalon on Sunday, May 2, 2010 swam in a long race in Christiansted Harbor, an area affected by that dumping, as well as the previous 72 million gallon dumping of raw sewage. Were the athletes told of the health risk? Do you understand that these athletes are now at risk of getting many horrible diseases, some of which are life threatening, and starting epidemics, such as cholera and typhus?  The VI government, VIWMA, Board of Tourism, Health Department, DPNR, DEP, EEP and EPA allowed this race to occur, did not warn the competitors, and is still doing nothing to alert the athletes, the CDC, the current tourists and residents, etc.

 

VI Waste Management Authority (formerly DPW) has been dumping raw sewage into coastal waters of St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John for decades.

 

To deal with the many violations of the waste management authority dumping untreated sewage, the local agencies entered into a Consent Agreement, in 1990, which is currently before the Federal District Court of the US Virgin Islands.

 

In the 1990 consent agreement, DPNR and DPW, now VIWMA, were to have developed a comprehensive program for the prevention, control, and abatement of all pollution in the Territory, from that time forward, so that these emergency dumpings of raw sewage would never happen again. Nevertheless, these illegal dumpings have occurred many, many times since 1990.

 

Based on the findings of facts and the conclusions of law, the 1990 Consent Order determined that the numerous deficiencies plaguing the waste treatment facility and the plethora of violations generated thereby unreasonably expose the public and the environment to substantial endangerment.

 

Dumping untreated sewage on a reef kills Coral and adversely modifies Coral’s Critical Habitat

 

Even the Consent Order of 20 years ago acknowledged that dumping raw sewage into coastal waters negatively impacts the marine ecosystem, in addition to imperiling human health.

 

Paragraphs 17 and 18 of the Consent Decree dated December 27,1990 state:

 

17.  DPNR records document an extensive chronology of unpermitted discharges of untreated sewage into the waters on all three islands.

 

18. DPNR took official notice of the fact that sewage pollution degrades the environment and imperils human health. Sewage contains nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous that when discharged into the marine environment can induce massive growths of algae. The decomposition of this algae consumes oxygen and can cause the level of dissolved oxygen in the water to be below that which can support many species of aquatic organisms.

 

These [sewage induced] algae blooms and the growth of other organisms then often stifle corals or outcompete them for space (Jones & Endean, 1976). In addition, direct sedimentation can smother a shoreline reef, and staghorn and elkhorn coral are particularly sensitive to sediment as they are among the least effective of the reefbuilding corals at trapping and removing sediment from their surface.

 

Untreated sewage increases the water’s turbidity, which, in turn, obscures the light on which corals thrive. Light deprivation ultimately will starve a coral, which is dependent on its symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) to generate food photosynthetically (UVI, 2001; Bryant et al., 1998). NOAA website.)

 

Pursuant to 73 FR 72210, “Elkhorn and staghorn coral require relatively clear, well-circulated water and are almost entirely dependent upon sunlight for nourishment …”

 

President Clinton’s Executive Order 13089 mandates that the federal agencies protect Coral Reefs

 

Section 2. Policy. All Federal agencies whose actions may affect U.S. coral reef ecosystems shall: (a) identify their actions that may affect U.S. coral reef ecosystems; (b) utilize their programs and authorities to protect and enhance the conditions of such ecosystems; and (c) to the extent permitted by law, ensure that any actions they authorize, fund, or carry out will not degrade the conditions of such ecosystems.

 

Section 3. Federal Agency Responsibilities . In furtherance of section 2 of this order, Federal agencies whose actions affect U.S. coral reef ecosystems, shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, provide for implementation of measures needed to research, monitor, manage, and restore affected ecosystems, including, but not limited to, measures reducing impacts from pollution, sedimentation, and fishing.

 

To the extent not inconsistent with statutory responsibilities and procedures, these measures shall be developed in cooperation with the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) and fishery management councils and in consultation with affected States, territorial, commonwealth, tribal, and local government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, the scientific community, and commercial interests.

 

Did the EPA contact the Coral Reef Task Force, and let them know VIWMA was dumping close to a protected National Park Marine Reserve, and upstream from Salt River, a new National Park?

 

At the 2008 USCRTF meeting in Kona, Hawaii, the USCRTF celebrated its 10-year anniversary and issued a renewed call to action to conserve and protect coral reefs, noting the severity of the threats facing coral reefs and the immediate need to take action:

 

It is clear that the USCRTF, with partners, must significantly increase our collective effort to

address the factors over which we can exercise control. The USCRTF must take immediate

action to respond to these threats and, in turn, seek to sustain our coral reef ecosystems and the communities that depend upon them….Science has demonstrated that reef communities can recover when they are protected and stressors are removed. Urgent action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the meantime, precious time for coral reef ecosystems can be secured through increased protection from land and marine pollution, unsustainable fishing, development, and other stressors, all of which we know can damage coral health. The time to act is now.

 

Buck Island Reef National Monument is a No Take Marine Reserve, and the flow of raw sewage flows down toward Salt River National Park

 

The dumping of 72 million gallons of raw sewage over Long Reef is out of the LBJ pump station, in close proximity to the Buck Island Reef National Monument, and is upstream from the Salt River National Park. Did the EPA, or any local agency, contact the National Park Service in January? Has the EPA contacted NPS yet? NPS established fully protected marine reserves at Buck Island Reef National Monument in order to restore fish populations and reef ecosystems and protect corals from physical damage.

Buck Island Reef National Monument was established to preserve “one of the finest marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea.” The park is one of a few fully marine protected areas in the National Park System. The 176-acre island and surrounding coral reef ecosystem support a large variety of native flora and fauna, including the hawksbill turtle and brown pelican.

State-Federal Partnerships have been made on Marine Reserves and Ecosystem Based

Research. “No-take” marine reserves have been established at Buck Island Reef National Monument, to restore and protect marine ecosystems and species they support from overfishing and anchor damage. The National Park Service has a clear scientific mandate to evaluate the performance and potential restorative impacts of these new reserves.

 

Fortunately, as reported by the reserve, it appears to be upstream from the effluent flow. Therefore, hopefully, it appears there was no damage to the reserve. However, the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve is downstream and around a corner from the effluent flow. 

 

Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve was created in 1992 as part of the National Park System. The National Park Service and the Government of the United States Virgin Islands jointly manage this 1,015-acre park. The area’s blend of sea and land holds some of the largest remaining mangrove forests in the Virgin Islands, as well as coral reefs and a submarine canyon. It’s said to be the place where Christopher Columbus first encountered the native people of this hemisphere and is a truly special place for both its ecological and historical significance.

 

Salt River National Park has received a $1.25 million federal grant to design a marine education and research center on St. Croix. The Assistant Secretary of the Interior of Insular Areas Anthony M. Babuata visited St. Croix, and presented the grant to the National Parks Service.

 

Staghorn and Elkhorn Coral and their Critical Habitat are protected under the Endangered Species Act

 

Acropora Fact SheetAcropora Fact Sheet

 

Staghorn and Elkhorn Coral and their Critical Habitat live in the coastal waters surrounding the U.S. Virgin Islands, and they are protected under the Endangered Species Act.  NOAA has devoted many millions of federal dollars to programs which preserve these Corals, and the Nature Conservancy, working with NOAA,  has three project areas in St Croix coastal waters, recolonizing coral.

 

Coral reefs are among the most diverse, biologically complex and valuable ecosystems on Earth. Often called rainforests of the sea, coral reefs provide economic and environmental services to millions of people as valuable areas of natural beauty, sources of food, jobs and revenues, recreation and tourism and shoreline protection.

 

“The United States has a significant national interest in protecting its coral reef ecosystems. The area of coral ecosystems within 10 fathom and 100 fathom depth contours respectively in tropical and subtropical water of the United States is 36,813 sq km and 143,059 sq km” (Rohmann et al. 2005). The majority of U.S. coral reefs making up the referenced areas are within State and Territorial waters.

 

 

Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles and Leatherback Turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act

 

Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles reside in the waters surrounding St. Croix, and do move around, so this 72 million gallons of raw sewage is now in their home. Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles depend upon turtle grass and sponges for food, but cannot eat if their food is tainted by raw sewage. Leatherback turtles, also protected by the ESA, swim in and lay their nests of eggs on the shoreline of several areas in St. Croix.

 

VIWMA may not dump raw sewage where it will adversely affect Threatened or Endangered Species

 

Solid waste disposal facilities or practices are not allowed to cause or contribute to the taking of an endangered or threatened species (40 C.F.R. § 257.3-2). That statute states in part:

 

§ 257.3–2 Endangered species.

(a)  Facilities or practices shall not cause or contribute to the taking of any endangered or threatened species of plants, fish, or wildlife.

(b) The facility or practice shall not result in the destruction or adverse modification of the critical habitat of endangered or threatened species as identified in 50 CFR part 17.

 

Sewage sludge may not be placed where it is likely to adversely affect a threatened or endangered species (40 C.F.R. § 503.24).

 

§ 503.24 Management practices.

(a)  Sewage sludge shall not be placed on an active sewage sludge unit if it is likely to adversely affect a threatened or endangered species listed under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act or its designated critical habitat.

 

 

DPNR, DEP, DEE, CZM and VIWMA  May All Be Found in Violation of the ESA

 

VIWMA must face the consequences of its actions and fully comply now with Federal District Court orders. Neither DPNR, DEE  nor the DEP stopped the dumping either, until 2 months later, at 1.2 million gallons per day.  These agencies have been violating federal laws and their own mandates for decades, and no one has been prosecuted for these illegal actions. Unless strong criminal prosecutions are brought, the dumping will continue

 

The Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources is a member of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, as is Governor deJongh. Clearly, DPNR is not following its mission, neither is it enforcing federal laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, nor following the mandates, resolutions or local action strategies of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. Instead, DPNR, by choosing not to actively enforce, is actively condemning the endangered species.

 

Janice Hodge, Director of the Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management, is a member of the U.S. All Islands Coral Reef Committee, whose mission is:

 

As official representatives of our Governors for the coral reef initiative, we will strive to elevate awareness of coral reef issues, develop local capacity and partnerships; implement actions in a coordinated regional voice; develop policy and advocate for jurisdictional needs; and coordinate bottom-up, locally-grown initiatives to ensure long-term sustainable use of coral reefs.

 

        CZM also has a duty and obligation to enforce and uphold federal laws and protect endangered species and their habitat.

 

The Division of Environmental Protection is responsible for environmental protection and the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations in the US Virgin Islands. The Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) receives funding and has been delegated responsibility for environmental protection by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the auspices of  Region 2.

 

The mandates of the Division of Environmental Protection are to protect and conserve the natural resources of the Government of the US Virgin Islands; air, water and land upon which life depends, and the health, comfort, and repose of the public.

 

The Endangered Species Act affects regulation under the Clean Water Act. The Services have a policy to ensure coordination with State Agencies for gathering information in implementing the consultation program. [59 FR 34274-34275 (July 1, 1994)]  In early 1999 EPA, FWS, and NMFS published a draft Memorandum of Agreement regarding enhanced coordination under the Clean Water Act and the ESA. 64 Fed. Reg. 2741-57 (January 15, 1999).

 

The EPA is in Violation of the Endangered Species Act

 

During the 2 month period of dumping, was the EPA working closely with NMFS and FWS? Did those agencies know, and allow this dumping to continue?

 

Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies to satisfy two standards in carrying out their programs. Federal agencies must ensure that their activities are not likely to: (1) jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species, or (2) result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat.

 

Section 7(a)(4) requires Federal agencies to confer with the Services on actions likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any species proposed for listing or result in the destruction or adverse modification of any proposed critical habitat.

 

Thus, the EPA, which has given a permit to VIWMA, and regulates VIWMA, is required to insure that VIWMA’s actions are not likely to jeopardize the Corals and Turtles in question, or adversely modify their Critical Habitat. Has anyone been researching the effect this raw sewage has had on Long Reef?

 

If the EPA knew on or before January 17, 2010, that federal agency had an affirmative duty to consult with NMFS, before the dumping. Once the dumping commenced, the EPA had an obligation to stop VIWMA, immediately, pursuant to the ESA, President Clinton’s Executive Order, and the “no-take” designation of the Buck Island Reef National Monument marine reserve.

 

The NMFS Director, Office of Protected Resources can pursue the need to consult with the action agency (EPA). The Services cannot force an action agency to consult. However, if the proposed action results in take of a listed fish or wildlife species, the matter should be referred to either the FWS Law Enforcement Division and the Office of the Solicitor, or the NMFS Office of Law Enforcement and the Office of General Counsel – depending upon which species are

involved.

 

Additionally, if the action agency requests consultation after-the-fact, that

consultation cannot eliminate any section 9 liability for take that has occurred already.

 

Violating the Endangered Species Act has Civil and Criminal Penalties

SEC. 11. 16 U.S.C. 1540 (a) CIVIL PENALTIES.—(1) Any person who knowingly violates any provision of this Act, may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not more than $25,000 for each violation. Each violation shall be a separate offense.

Public Law 100-478, enacted October 7, 1988, (102 Stat 2306) included the following provisions:

  • Redefines the definition of “person” to clarify law applies to municipal corporations.

The court shall hear such action on the record  made before the Secretary and shall sustain his action if it is supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole.

 

(b) CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS.—(1) Any person who knowingly violates any provision of this Act, of any permit or certificate issued hereunder, or of any regulation issued in order to implement subsection (a)(1)(A), (B), (C), (D), (E), or (F); (a)(2)(A), (B), (C), or (D),

(c), (d) (other than a regulation relating to recordkeeping, or filing of reports), (f), or (g) of section 9 of this Act shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. Any person who knowingly violates any provision of any other regulation issued under this Act shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $25,000 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

 

(e) ENFORCEMENT.—(1) The provisions of this Act and any regulations or permits issued pursuant thereto shall be enforced by the Secretary, the Secretary of the Treasury, or the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating, or all such Secretaries. Each such Secretary may utilize by agreement, with or without reimbursement, the personnel, services, and facilities of any other Federal agency or any State agency for purposes of enforcing this Act.

 

(2) The judges of the district courts of the United States and the United States magistrates may within their respective jurisdictions, upon proper oath or affirmation showing probable cause, issue such warrants or other process as may be required for enforcement of this Act and any regulation issued thereunder.

 

Conclusion

 

The federal and local agencies must consult with NMFS, NPS and the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and ensure that VIWMA has all its equipment working, now, before even more raw sewage is dumped on a reef. NMFS and DOI would then decide what civil and criminal charges to level, against which people, boards and agencies.

 

The EPA has a mandate of overwhelming transparency, and thus has an obligation to keep U.S. citizens, particularly Virgin Islanders, informed and aware of its actions from January onward.  I suggest that a group be formed, comprised of representatives from all agencies involved, AND citizens and environmentalists, to decide, then take action, on what to do now. Should VIWMA be privatized? Should the EPA step in and run the facility? What can we do to clean up and actually start protecting our reefs?

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Susan K. Wolterbeek

 

EPA Mandate to Protect Coral

 GreenerVI Header

 

February 10, 2013

Mark Lichtenstein

Dear Mark:

I am hopeful that now that the EPA actually has a mandate to protect Coral, that the EPA will finally put VIWMA in Receivership, so that the dumping of raw, untreated sewage and chemicals will finally stop.  Since Judith met with me on May 6, 2010, an estimated 300 million more gallons of raw sewage were pumped into our coastal waters, where we swim and snorkel, and where several endangered species live.  Many people have been getting staph infections, flesh eating bacteria, people have died. We need your help.  This is all in violation of federal criminal laws that have not been enforced for 29 years. These criminals are ruining our coral, turtles, and making people very sick.

We need a plan of moving forward, and critical to that plan is the foundation of having people who know what they are doing running, managing and maintaining our utilities, to stop polluting our air and water, NOW. We need to start full bore recycling, closing our dumps which are leaching into our waters, and stopping those people from VIWMA from hurting us any more. These waters are toxic now.

Dave and I have asked the EPA for copies of all documents referring to illegal dumping by VIWMA from 1/1/11-Present. From past years, some “bypasses” of raw, untreated sewage were written up in non-compliance reports, but many were not. Sometimes there are casual emails from VIWMA to DPNR and/or the EPA.  On many non-compliance reports, which DPNR and the EPA review, but do not kick back, VIWMA does not list the quantities, or even amount of days, or weeks, of “Bypass” leaving them blank.

On 11/7/12, over three months ago, Major David Maxwell sent The FOIA Officer his request for these non-compliance reports, as you can see in the email below.  On 1/17/13, I asked John Martin for the data again,  in my email to him. Nonetheless, no one has responded, or sent us anything, after 3 months-far beyond FOIA deadlines. I know your focus is recycling, but this all involves the same VIWMA and DPNR people.

WAPA, our power company, is also polluting our air and coastal waters, as you can see by the enclosed photos, and WAPA is crippling the people and businesses of the USVI, charging us 600-800% of the average US rate, while working at as low as 13% efficiency, according to a federal audit. Many VI Businesses are struggling endlessly to hang on, or are going into bankruptcy. We have written to the Inspector General’s Office of the Dept. of Energy, who said they would investigate…yet this month we have just gotten another unjustified rate increase.

Now just about every beach in the USVI is on the EPA’s impaired beaches list, and that list has not been updated since 2010. The sunshine laws are treated by DPNR as a joke, and Jamal Neilson said DPNR does not post danger signs on impaired beached because the hotels do not like it. We citizens are not cannot get hold of the water quality results, and apparently they are not testing comprehensively.

Trip Advisor talks of the smell of raw sewage in areas of St. Croix, so this pollution is obviously negatively impacting Tourism, which our economy is based upon, as well as killing the remaining 3% of coral and polluting the nutritional food vital to hawksbill and green turtles, who are also supposed to be protected by your Endangered Species laws.

I understand that your basic focus is recycling- but it is not fair to us, the citizens, to swim in filth while you guys keep trying to work with VIWMA, who with its predecessors have dumped into our coastal waters for 29 years, and kept the unlined landfills open. Haven’t they been given enough chances, for 29 years, to get it right? Mark, please consider Receivership now.

                                                                           Sincerely,

Susan

 

Susan Wolterbeek, President        GreenerVI.org

St Thomas, VI 00803          (340) 714-2233        susan@GreenerVI.org

VI Waste Management has Dumped Raw Sewage into Coastal Waters for 29 Years

 GreenerVI Header

From: Susan Wolterbeek [mailto:susanremy@vipowernet.net]
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:23 PM
To: ‘martin.johnj@epa.gov’
Cc: ‘Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov’; ‘Enck.Judith@epa.gov’
Subject: VI Waste Management dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into our coastal waters, killing coral

Dear Mr. Martin:

Here is email correspondence between Judith Enck and I 3 years ago– the EPA has knowingly and willingly allowed VI Waste Management to dump raw, untreated sewage into VI Coastal Waters for the past 28 years, and despite my letters, conferences with Judith Enck and EPA attorneys, and bringing a Citizen’s Suit, the EPA has continually refused to enforce federal civil and criminal laws to protect our Coral and Sea Turtles. I am glad that the EPA has finally decided to follow the laws after 28 years, and stop Waste Management from dumping filth for us to swim in, but has the dumping actually stopped? Also, DPNR refuses to let us know the results of water tests. We Americans have a right to not have to swim in raw sewage, and the coral cannot move. The turtles are dying or gone since our turtle grass is almost all gone, so they have nothing to eat.

The EPA has not been following the Endangered Species Act or working together to help our coastal waters after all this pollution. It appears that after I wrote to Judith, the following year VI Waste Management dumped even more millions of gallons of raw sewage, and the EPA would not prosecute.  We citizens and the VI Daily News are not even allowed to know the salaries and perks of VI waste management, or a list of the employees.

I am requesting from you freedom of information act information and all documentation on the unauthorized dumping of raw sewage into VI Coastal Waters from 1/1/2011-present. If you need me to send this request to someone else at the EPA, please tell me. It would be helpful to have this information before our meeting in February, so that we can intelligently discuss what the EPA will do to make this stop, and how the EPA will finally help and work with NOAA to save what is left of our coral and turtles.

I look forward to hearing from you.

From: Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov [mailto:Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov]

Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 6:41 PM
To: Susan Wolterbeek
Subject: Re: Environmental impact on Long Reef and endangered species

Thanks. Let’s discuss on thursday.  I assume u are coming to the recycling mtg – right?  I sure hope so!  We can grab some time after that

Sent by EPA Wireless E-Mail Services


  From: “Susan Wolterbeek” [susanremy@vipowernet.net]
  Sent: 05/04/2010 03:46 PM AST
  To: Judith Enck
  Subject: Environmental impact on Long Reef and endangered species

Dear Judith:

I have prepared a response to Carl Soderberg in the form of a rough draft analysis. I am sending it to you first. The last thing we want is to do anything which will negatively impact on you, because you are doing a great job as Regional Administrator. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said locally, and there must be transparency, accountability and penalties here locally, or the dumping will continue. I have done the best research I can with limited data and resources, so there may be many positive things being done, of which I am unaware.

I will await hearing from you, or discussing this with you in person, before sending it out to everyone.  Sincerely, Susan

I then sent Judith the attached letter, dated 5-16-10 after she and I met on May 6, 2010, and here is her response:

From: Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov [mailto:Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov]

Sent: Monday, May 17, 2010 12:37 PM
To: Susan Wolterbeek
Subject: Re: Citizen’s Suit, Human health of Triathaloners, Endangered Species Act

susan: I am looking into the issue of sewage discharges on vi.   (Emphasis supplied).

Judith Enck
Regional Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
290 Broadway
New York, N.Y. 10007-1866
(212)  637-5000

Mr. Martin, I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. Sincerely, Susan Wolterbeek

Susan Wolterbeek, President

GreenerVI.org         St Thomas, VI 00803          (340) 714-2233        susan@GreenerVI.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Human Pathogen Shown to Cause Disease in the Threatened Eklhorn Coral

Human Pathogen Shown to Cause Disease in the Threatened Eklhorn Coral Acropora palmata

Jump to

Kathryn Patterson Sutherland1*, Sameera Shaban1, Jessica L. Joyner2, James W. Porter3, Erin K. Lipp4

1 Department of Biology, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, United States of America, 2 Odum School of Ecology and Department of Environmental Health Science, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States of America, 3 Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States of America, 4 Department of Environmental Health Science, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States of America

Abstract Top

Coral reefs are in severe decline. Infections by the human pathogen Serratia marcescens have contributed to precipitous losses in the common Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, culminating in its listing under the United States Endangered Species Act. During a 2003 outbreak of this coral disease, called acroporid serratiosis (APS), a unique strain of the pathogen, Serratia marcescens strain PDR60, was identified from diseased A. palmata, human wastewater, the non-host coral Siderastrea siderea and the corallivorous snail Coralliophila abbreviata. In order to examine humans as a source and other marine invertebrates as vectors and/or reservoirs of the APS pathogen, challenge experiments were conducted with A. palmata maintained in closed aquaria to determine infectivity of strain PDR60 from reef and wastewater sources. Strain PDR60 from wastewater and diseased A. palmata caused disease signs in elkhorn coral in as little as four and five days, respectively, demonstrating that wastewater is a definitive source of APS and identifying human strain PDR60 as a coral pathogen through fulfillment of Koch’s postulates. A. palmata inoculated with strain PDR60 from C. abbreviata showed limited virulence, with one of three inoculated fragments developing APS signs within 13 days. Strain PDR60 from non-host coral S. siderea showed a delayed pathogenic effect, with disease signs developing within an average of 20 days. These results suggest that C. abbreviata and non-host corals may function as reservoirs or vectors of the APS pathogen. Our results provide the first example of a marine “reverse zoonosis” involving the transmission of a human pathogen (S. marcescens) to a marine invertebrate (A. palmata). These findings underscore the interaction between public health practices and environmental health indices such as coral reef survival.

Citation: Sutherland KP, Shaban S, Joyner JL, Porter JW, Lipp EK (2011) Human Pathogen Shown to Cause Disease in the Threatened Eklhorn Coral Acropora palmata. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23468. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023468

Editor: Steve Vollmer, Northeastern University, United States of America

Received: February 28, 2011; Accepted: July 18, 2011; Published: August 17, 2011

Copyright: © 2011 Sutherland et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: This research was supported by Mote Marine Laboratory Protect Our Reefs grant POR-2008-23 (www.mote.org) to KPS and EKL, the Rollins College Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Program and Edward W. and Stella C. Van Houten Memorial Fund to SS and KPS, and by a Rollins College Critchfield Research Grant (www.rollins.edu) to KPS. Additional partial support was provided by National Science Foundation (NSF) grants EF-1015032 to KPS and EF-1015342 to JWP and EKL as part of the joint NSF-National Institutes of Health Ecology of Infectious Disease program (www.nsf.org) and by the US Environmental Protection Agency South Florida Water Quality Protection Program (www.epa.gov) to JWP. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

* E-mail: kpsutherland@rollins.edu

 

Stopping the intentional dumping of raw sewage

GreenerVI Header

 

 

 

From: Susan Wolterbeek [mailto:susanremy@vipowernet.net]
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2012 12:39 PM
To: ‘edward.horton@noaa.gov’
Cc: ‘Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov’; ‘lowedavis@dailynews.vi’

Subject: Stopping the intentional dumping of raw sewage into VI coastal waters; working with the federal government and citizens on WAPA and VIWMA
Importance: High

November 4, 2012

Edward Horton

Chief Administrative Officer

NOAA

edward.horton@noaa.gov

Dear Chief Administrative Officer Horton:

                                                                       I am writing to you on behalf of GreenerVI.org, an environmental organization of 4,966 Americans, growing larger every day, and we really need your help. VI Waste Management has been intentionally dumping raw, untreated sewage into our Virgin Islands coastal waters, with the full awareness of the EPA, the Federal District Court and the local government, for the past 29 years. Please see the Federal District Court Order of 3/31/11.

In February, 2010, Regional Administrator Enck sat at my dinner table and promised to soon stop allowing VI Waste Management to dump raw sewage into the very waters where we swim and snorkel, and where the coral and turtles and local fish live.

Since that promise, 2 ½ years ago, VIWMA has dumped an estimated 300 million more gallons of raw, untreated sewage into our coastal waters. We hope you agree that VI Waste Management should not be allowed to keep dumping raw, untreated sewage any longer than 29 years.

Now dozens of our beaches are polluted. Trip Advisor talks of the smell of raw sewage in areas of St. Croix, so this pollution is obviously negatively impacting Tourism, which our economy is based upon, as well as killing the remaining 3% of coral and polluting the nutritional food vital to hawksbill and green turtles, who are also supposed to be protected by your Endangered Species laws.

None of this is accidental. As May Adams Cornwall testified on May 11, 2011, much of the dumping could have been averted by purchasing, repairing and maintaining the necessary pumps. She openly blamed this on executive failure of VIWMA, of which she is the Chief Executive, and admitted VIWMA had not followed the Emergency Court Order of 3/10, even to purchase certain Court Ordered pumps.

Every single dumping of raw sewage is a violation of federal criminal and civil laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, yet no federal agency has taken charge, no one is being held responsible, or accountable, and the dumping continues, often on a daily or weekly basis. By law, the EPA has an absolute duty to report each of these federal violations to NOAA and must formulate a plan to stop the dumping and help our underwater community. We have written dozens of letters to Bureau Chiefs at NOAA, and they say they are following the EPA’s lead, yet the dumping continues.

We filed an Emergency Motion to Intervene/Citizen’s Suit in Federal District Court, against Waste Management and the EPA on May 12, 2011, which is attached. 18 months later, nothing has happened. Administrator Enck says she is currently understandably busy with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on NY and NJ, but why, in 3 decades, are we never a priority? You can read all the filed documents and letters on our website at GreenerVI.org

WAPA, our power company, is also polluting our air and coastal waters, as you can see by the enclosed photos, and WAPA is crippling the people and businesses of the USVI, charging us 600-800% of the average US rate, while working at as low as 13% efficiency, according to a federal audit. Many VI Businesses are struggling endlessly to hang on, or are going into bankruptcy. We have written to the Inspector General’s Office of the Dept. of Energy, who said they would investigate…yet this month we have just gotten another unjustified rate increase.

At this point, we can either plead with the Third Circuit to finally enforce these federal laws, or work together, as we have been requesting of the federal agencies all along. We are asking the Governor and prospective VI Senators to commit to support a joint committee of local government, NOAA, the EPA, Dept. of the Interior and the Dept.of Energy and GreenerVI.org. to work together, to achieve our goals of:

  1.  Finally stopping the dumping of raw, untreated sewage into VI coastal waters;
  2.  Creating recycling centers, with comprehensive structure, funding, and plan implementation;
  3.  Utilizing efficient, environmentally sound energy systems which will substantially decrease cost per customer as low as reasonably possible;
  4. Working with GreenerVI.org, which will maintain a website providing up to date information, schedules, transparency of data, studies, information, a blog so that all caring citizens may weigh in with their thoughts, physical help, equipment, and volunteer fulfillment of work and materials.
  5. Comprehensive study of the coastal waters and a clean-up and rejuvenation plan;
  6. Payment to implement all this through combining discretionary funds from the various federal agencies;
  7. Agreement by the local government to not oppose us, but to work together to achieve these goals.

 

It is election day, a tremendous opportunity for change. Senator Sean Michael Malone, and prospective Senators Clarence Payne and Andreas Tietje have proven themselves time and again to be concerned protectors of our environment. We are going to polling areas, and calling on prospective Senators. We hope that all members of the new VI Legislature will agree to make WAPA and VIWMA our joint priority and will agree to a simple pledge that we must work together, now, to protect the environment in which we live.

We look forward to hearing from you, as soon as possible. We are available by the below phone or email 24/7.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Susan K. Wolterbeek

VI Waste Management dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into our coastal waters

GreenerVI Header

 

From: Susan Wolterbeek [mailto:susanremy@vipowernet.net]
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:23 PM
To: ‘martin.johnj@epa.gov’
Cc: ‘Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov’; ‘Enck.Judith@epa.gov’
Subject: VI Waste Management dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into our coastal waters, killing coral

Dear Mr. Martin:

Here is email correspondence between Judith Enck and I 3 years ago– the EPA has knowingly and willingly allowed VI Waste Management to dump raw, untreated sewage into VI Coastal Waters for the past 28 years, and despite my letters, conferences with Judith Enck and EPA attorneys, and bringing a Citizen’s Suit, the EPA has continually refused to enforce federal civil and criminal laws to protect our Coral and Sea Turtles. I am glad that the EPA has finally decided to follow the laws after 28 years, and stop Waste Management from dumping filth for us to swim in, but has the dumping actually stopped? Also, DPNR refuses to let us know the results of water tests. We Americans have a right to not have to swim in raw sewage, and the coral cannot move. The turtles are dying or gone since our turtle grass is almost all gone, so they have nothing to eat.

The EPA has not been following the Endangered Species Act or working together to help our coastal waters after all this pollution. It appears that after I wrote to Judith, the following year VI Waste Management dumped even more millions of gallons of raw sewage, and the EPA would not prosecute.  We citizens and the VI Daily News are not even allowed to know the salaries and perks of VI waste management, or a list of the employees.

I am requesting from you freedom of information act information and all documentation on the unauthorized dumping of raw sewage into VI Coastal Waters from 1/1/2011-present. If you need me to send this request to someone else at the EPA, please tell me. It would be helpful to have this information before our meeting in February, so that we can intelligently discuss what the EPA will do to make this stop, and how the EPA will finally help and work with NOAA to save what is left of our coral and turtles.

I look forward to hearing from you.

From: Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov [mailto:Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov]

Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 6:41 PM
To: Susan Wolterbeek
Subject: Re: Environmental impact on Long Reef and endangered species

Thanks. Let’s discuss on thursday.  I assume u are coming to the recycling mtg – right?  I sure hope so!  We can grab some time after that

Sent by EPA Wireless E-Mail Services


  From: “Susan Wolterbeek” [susanremy@vipowernet.net]
  Sent: 05/04/2010 03:46 PM AST
  To: Judith Enck
  Subject: Environmental impact on Long Reef and endangered species

Dear Judith:

I have prepared a response to Carl Soderberg in the form of a rough draft analysis. I am sending it to you first. The last thing we want is to do anything which will negatively impact on you, because you are doing a great job as Regional Administrator. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said locally, and there must be transparency, accountability and penalties here locally, or the dumping will continue. I have done the best research I can with limited data and resources, so there may be many positive things being done, of which I am unaware.

I will await hearing from you, or discussing this with you in person, before sending it out to everyone.  Sincerely, Susan

I then sent Judith the attached letter, dated 5-16-10 after she and I met on May 6, 2010, and here is her response:

From: Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov [mailto:Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov]

Sent: Monday, May 17, 2010 12:37 PM
To: Susan Wolterbeek
Subject: Re: Citizen’s Suit, Human health of Triathaloners, Endangered Species Act

susan: I am looking into the issue of sewage discharges on vi.   (Emphasis supplied).

Judith Enck
Regional Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
290 Broadway
New York, N.Y. 10007-1866
(212)  637-5000

Mr. Martin, I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. Sincerely, Susan Wolterbeek

Susan Wolterbeek, President        GreenerVI.org         St Thomas, VI 00803

(340) 714-2233        susan@GreenerVI.org

 

Dolphinariums Are Unpopular And Not Profitable

VI Daily News Header

 

 

 

 

 

Dolphinariums Are Unpopular And Not Profitable

The Virgin Islands Daily News – St. Thomas

Date: Jan 7, 2013

This is an open letter to Coastal Zone Management Commission.

Granting a permit to Coral World to hold captive dolphins, sentient beings, would be a huge mistake morally, ethically, socially and economically.

First, if she is still there, look at how small the enclosure is which contained a poor sea turtle who is on the endangered species list She can barely turn around, is in isolation and has been so for years. Coral World will not let her ever experience anything but her cage.

Every year, Fish and Wildlife has given them a permit to do this to this poor turtle who has never hurt anyone, who cannot even have the company of others, who cannot have the basic freedom of life to which she is entitled. I have already pled on her behalf to both Coral World and Fish and Wildlife. Now Coral World wants to have dolphins work for them to make them money. This attitude toward these poor animals is abusive.

Further, as the status of dolphin parks show, they are not even doing well from an economic perspective, because so many Americans and people of other countries and other Caribbean islands have risen up against the exploitation of dolphins.

Thus, your agreeing to St. Thomas keeping dolphins captive will turn off many visitors to our islands – and will very likely lead to a lawsuit, which will bring negative, not positive, newsworthiness to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Please do not agree to this exploitation of dolphins, and please review all the enclosures and animals at Coral World and determine if they are being treated in a humane fashion, including whether, and for how long, an animal has been in isolation.

Please have these poor captives examined by independent professionals and allow the turtles to go back in the water, where they belong. Please allow us at GreenerVI.org to coordinate any way that members of the public can be part of a rehabilitation program for these animals, particularly endangered species.

Below is the long list of dolphin facilities which were closed or never even opened.

Failed Dolphinariums

– Susan Wolterbeek, St. Thomas, is president of GreenerVI.org

Check this Out

 

 

 

 

GreenerVI.org is entirely funded by donations from people and businesses who care about the Virgin Islands. DavidFrancke.org is donating 2/3rds of all net profits to GreenerVI,  please see his great artistic website at: DavidFrancke.com

Letter to NOAA

November 6, 2012

Edward Horton

Chief Administrative Officer

NOAA

edward.horton@noaa.gov

 

Dear Chief Administrative Officer Horton:

                                                                       I am writing to you on behalf of GreenerVI.org, an environmental organization of 4,966 Americans, growing larger every day, and we really need your help. VI Waste Management has been intentionally dumping raw, untreated sewage into our Virgin Islands coastal waters, with the full awareness of the EPA, the Federal District Court and the local government, for the past 29 years. Please see the Federal District Court Order of 3/31/11.

In February, 2010, Regional Administrator Enck sat at my dinner table and promised to soon stop allowing VI Waste Management to dump raw sewage into the very waters where we swim and snorkel, and where the coral and turtles and local fish live.

Since that promise, 2 ½ years ago, VIWMA has dumped an estimated 300 million more gallons of raw, untreated sewage into our coastal waters. We hope you agree that VI Waste Management should not be allowed to keep dumping raw, untreated sewage any longer than 29 years.

Now dozens of our beaches are polluted. Trip Advisor talks of the smell of raw sewage in areas of St. Croix, so this pollution is obviously negatively impacting Tourism, which our economy is based upon, as well as killing the remaining 3% of coral and polluting the nutritional food vital to hawksbill and green turtles, who are also supposed to be protected by your Endangered Species laws.

None of this is accidental. As May Adams Cornwall testified on May 11, 2011, much of the dumping could have been averted by purchasing, repairing and maintaining the necessary pumps. She openly blamed this on executive failure of VIWMA, of which she is the Chief Executive, and admitted VIWMA had not followed the Emergency Court Order of 3/10, even to purchase certain Court Ordered pumps.

Every single dumping of raw sewage is a violation of federal criminal and civil laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, yet no federal agency has taken charge, no one is being held responsible, or accountable, and the dumping continues, often on a daily or weekly basis. By law, the EPA has an absolute duty to report each of these federal violations to NOAA and must formulate a plan to stop the dumping and help our underwater community. We have written dozens of letters to Bureau Chiefs at NOAA, and they say they are following the EPA’s lead, yet the dumping continues.

We filed an Emergency Motion to Intervene/Citizen’s Suit in Federal District Court, against Waste Management and the EPA on May 12, 2011, which is attached. 18 months later, nothing has happened. Administrator Enck says she is currently understandably busy with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on NY and NJ, but why, in 3 decades, are we never a priority? You can read all the filed documents and letters on our website at GreenerVI.org

WAPA, our power company, is also polluting our air and coastal waters, as you can see by the enclosed photos, and WAPA is crippling the people and businesses of the USVI, charging us 600-800% of the average US rate, while working at as low as 13% efficiency, according to a federal audit. Many VI Businesses are struggling endlessly to hang on, or are going into bankruptcy. We have written to the Inspector General’s Office of the Dept. of Energy, who said they would investigate…yet this month we have just gotten another unjustified rate increase.

At this point, we can either plead with the Third Circuit to finally enforce these federal laws, or work together, as we have been requesting of the federal agencies all along. We are asking the Governor and prospective VI Senators to commit to support a joint committee of local government, NOAA, the EPA, Dept. of the Interior and the Dept.of Energy and GreenerVI.org. to work together, to achieve our goals of:

  1.  Finally stopping the dumping of raw, untreated sewage into VI coastal waters;
  2.  Creating recycling centers, with comprehensive structure, funding, and plan implementation;
  3.  Utilizing efficient, environmentally sound energy systems which will substantially decrease cost per customer as low as reasonably possible;
  4. Working with GreenerVI.org, which will maintain a website providing up to date information, schedules, transparency of data, studies, information, a blog so that all caring citizens may weigh in with their thoughts, physical help, equipment, and volunteer fulfillment of work and materials.
  5. Comprehensive study of the coastal waters and a clean-up and rejuvenation plan;
  6. Payment to implement all this through combining discretionary funds from the various federal agencies;
  7. Agreement by the local government to not oppose us, but to work together to achieve these goals.

        It is election day, a tremendous opportunity for change. Senator Sean Michael Malone, and prospective Senators Clarence Payne and Andreas Tietje have proven themselves time and again to be concerned protectors of our environment. We are going to polling areas, and calling on prospective Senators. We hope that all members of the new VI Legislature will agree to make WAPA and VIWMA our joint priority and will agree to a simple pledge that we must work together, now, to protect the environment in which we live. 

We look forward to hearing from you, as soon as possible. We are available by the below phone or email 24/7.

Pledge for Prospective Senators

Dear Editor, VI DailyNews,

                        I hope that all is well with you. GreenerVI.org is now 4,966 strong, with new people signing up every day. I sent you a copy of my letter to the head of NOAA, and it would be great if you could possibly get it into the paper tomorrow, because it affects every Virgin Islander and every business and endangered species here.

 

We are going around to prospective Senators today, as they campaign, and we are asking them to sign this simple pledge:

 

 

 

 

 

We, the prospective Senators of the 30th VI Legislature pledge to uphold the law and demand immediate transparency in VIWMA and WAPA studies, reports, salaries and all documents which legally should be made available to the public and our news agencies. We pledge to make VIWMA stop dumping raw, untreated sewage into our coastal waters and make WAPA more energy efficient, lowering our costs. We pledge to work together, now, with federal agencies and GreenerVI.org, (which has 4,966 citizens), to protect the environment in which we live.

 

Dated: November 6, 2012

Signed:

 

___________________________

___________________________

___________________________

___________________________

___________________________

___________________________

___________________________

 

WAPA Polluting our Air, Water and Coral

This an example of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) polluting our Air, Water and Coral. This is a violation of the US Clean Water Act, the US Clean Air Act and the US Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, this is just one of many violations that happen relatively frequently.

Wapa1

Thick, Dark Smoke from WAPA; Polluting our Air, Water and Coral

 

 

Wapa2

More WAPA pollution of our Air, Water and Coral

 

 

 

Citizen’s Suit – Motion to Intervene

DISTRICT COURT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

DIVISION OF ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN

 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Plaintiff

CIVIL No.   1984-104

GOVERNMENT of the    VIRGIN ISLANDS

Defendant

 

BRIEF ON MOTION TO INTERVENE

Now comes Susan K. Wolterbeek, Pro Se, being duly sworn, and hereby states as follows:

Intervenor is a Citizen of the United States and a resident of St. Thomas, United States

Virgin Islands. An Affidavit in Support of Motion to Intervene is included with this filing.

Intervenor is bringing this Motion to Intervene as of Right, under Rule 24 (a)(1) of the

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (F.R.C.P.). Citizens are given an unconditional right to

intervene in this case by federal statute,  33 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1365 (b)(1)(B), as (the

parties would contend that) the Administrator has commenced and is diligently prosecuting a

civil action in a court of the United States.

Intervenor has an Interest that is Significantly Protectable

In addition, Intervention is as of right under F.R.C.P. Rule 24 (a)(2). As a resident of the US

Virgin Islands, Intervenor has a compelling interest in the continued health of, not pollution of,

USVI territorial waters. As stated in the accompanying Affidavit in Support of Motion to

Intervene, [Affidavit], Intervenor moved to St. Thomas in part out of deep affection for and

commitment to Coral and Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles, endangered and threatened

species living in the coastal waters directly surrounding the U.S. Virgin Islands. Intervenor

snorkels and swims in USVI territorial waters.

It is a scientific fact that a small drop of fecal matter can contain millions of

microorganisms of many types, some of which are pathogenic.

Microbial pathogens in raw or inadequately treated sewage can cause illnesses ranging from

temporary stomach cramps to life-threatening conditions such as inflammation of the heart.

Cholera, Typhus and SARS can cause outbreaks and death, and many of the other diseases can

debilitate people severely, such as Hepatitis A,B, Giardia Lambia, Gastroenteritis, Poliovirus,

and Poliomyelitis.

There has been a recent outbreak of Cholera in Haiti, sickening 250,000, and killing 5,000.

Apparently the outbreak was caused by a U.N. facility having sanitation problems [Exhibit 13].

This dumping of raw sewage is being done willfully, and has been for 27 years. If people fall ill,

it will have a devastating effect on the people, tourism and our economy. If we have an outbreak

of cholera or typhus, our economy will fail as well as our bodies.

Citizens have a right to enjoy our coastal waters, not to swim in raw sewage, without even

being given legal warning of these bypasses. The Affidavit reveals through 150 VIWMA Non-

Compliance Reports and newspaper articles at least 83 full days of bypassing raw sewage since

this Court’s Order of 3/18/10  [Exhibits 2-5, 15-18, 23-25].

The Affidavit details VIWMA’s failure to abide by the Territorial Pollutant Discharge

Elimination System (TPDES) Permit, and this Honorable Court’s Order by not publishing

required Public Notices before, during, and after bypasses, or posting warnings on beaches. Thus

Citizens have no knowledge if or when VIWMA is dumping raw sewage, and whether it is even

safe to go swimming. Intervenor therefore has an interest that is “significantly protectable”.

Donaldson v. United States, 400 U.S. 517, 531, 91 S.Ct. 534, 542, 27 L.Ed.2d 580 (1971).

The Motion Is Timely

This motion is timely, because this an ongoing case, with VIWMA to supply this Honorable

Court with ongoing data in regard to the wastewater systems, and a plan to buy, replace and

maintain the pumps.  The Court has established an emergency fund to purchase or repair pumps

on an emergency basis with the goal that no further bypasses of raw sewage will occur, and has

held a hearing on these issues on May 11, 2011.

However, neither party has fully apprised this Honorable Court of the massive 83 days of

bypasses that VIWMA has been committing since the Order of March 18, 2010.

Exhibit 2 is a Summary of the 186 Non-Compliance Reports provided by the EPA enumerating

raw sewage discharges by VIWMA from1/1/10 -3/23/11. Defendant’s Exhibit C stated that it

included all St. Croix bypasses of raw sewage until April, 2011, yet there were several major

bypasses in March which were not included in Exhibit C.

If the rate of flow is the same as last year, these 83 days of bypasses probably exceed the

bypasses which were the subject of the emergency motion on March 11, 2010. It is therefore

important and timely to provide this Honorable Court with the full truth concerning the many

ongoing bypasses of raw sewage over the past year as well as the present condition of the pumps

and the systems which continue to break down regularly.

When determining timeliness, the Court examines the prejudice that the delay of the

intervention will cause the current parties to the litigation. Mountain Top, Mountain Top Condo.

Ass’n v. Dave Stabbert Master Builder, Inc., 72 F.3d 361 at 369-70 (3d Cir. 1995).

In the case at hand Intervention will not cause delay. To the contrary, this information will be

useful to the Court to render a decision. Even if there is any question as to timeliness,

as the Court stated in Mountaintop, when “intervention is of right, the would-be intervenor may

be seriously harmed if he is not permitted to intervene, [thus] courts should be reluctant to

dismiss a request for intervention [of right] as untimely.” Mountain Top, 72 F.3d at 368.

The Existing Parties are not adequately representing or protecting Citizens’ Interests.

Disposing of this action will impair or impede Intervenor’s ability to protect her interest in

swimming and snorkeling, and seeing living endangered species, as well as keeping the

territorial waters unpolluted by raw sewage. VIWMA has continued to pump many, many more

millions of gallons of raw sewage into USVI coastal waters since this Honorable Court’s Order

of March 18, 2010, and the EPA has allowed these illegal actions, and will not file for Contempt

or Receivership [Exhibits 6-7, 11]. The EPA has apparently made no plans to address our

polluted waters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency

responsible for protecting the territorial waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and who has spent

millions of dollars on projects to protect and re-colonize Corals.

Further, as detailed in the accompanying Affidavit, VIWMA has not followed specific

Court Orders in regard to the Figtree and Cancryn Pump Stations, nor maintained the requisite

back-up pumps for St. Croix.

As detailed in the accompanying Affidavit, although Intervenor has asked the EPA

Region 2  Administrator several times, in person and by letters, to stop VIWMA from continuing

to dump the raw sewage, and implored the Region 2 attorneys during weekly conference calls for

the past month to file for Contempt and Receivership, [Exhibits 6,7,10,11], the EPA will not take

such action. For the foregoing reasons, the existing parties are not adequately representing or

protecting Citizens’ interests.

As the United States Supreme Court stated, “[t]he requirement of the Rule is satisfied if the

applicant shows that representation of his interest ‘may be’ inadequate; and the burden of making

that showing should be treated as minimal.” Trbovich v. United Mine Workers, 404 U.S. 528,

538 n. 10, 92 S.Ct. 630, 636 n. 10, 30 L.Ed.2d 686 (1972). The most important factor in

determining adequacy of representation is how the interest of the absentee compares with the

interest of the present parties. If the interest of the absentee is not represented at all, or if all

existing parties are adverse to him, as in the case at hand, then he is not adequately represented.

This Intervention may be commenced Immediately

This Motion to Intervene, Complaint in Intervention, and Motion for an Expedited  Hearing

on Contempt and Receivership may be brought immediately, without the normal 60 day notice,

pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 1365 (b)(2) because VIWMA is in violation of  33 U.S.C sections 1316

and/or 1317(a), [as well as this Honorable Court’s Orders] by committing illegal discharges in

violation of the effluent standard of performance under the Clean Water Act.

Therefore, since this motion is timely, Intervenor may Intervene as a matter of right

pursuant to FRCP Rule 24 (a)(1)  and 33 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1365 (b)(1)(B) as well as

under F.R.C.P. Rule 24 (a)(2). In addition, Intervention is further appropriate through F.R.C.P.

Rule 24 (b)(1)(B) because Intervenor has compelling facts to offer the Court, in regard to the

150 Non-Compliance Reports since 3/18/10, signed by VIWMA and provided by the EPA,

along with the Summary of said reports.

Wherefore, Intervenor hereby requests the following relief of this Honorable Court:

  1. That the within Motion to Intervene is granted, and Susan K. Wolterbeek is permitted to be a party to this case, as of Right.
  2. That in light of  the Summary of Non-Compliance Reports and newspaper articles submitted by Intervenor as Exhibits, which reveal 83 days of raw sewage bypasses, Intervenor’s Motion, Pleadings and evidence are accepted, and Intervenor may proceed in this case immediately.
  3. Any further relief that is just and equitable.

Respectfully submitted,

_______________________

Susan K. Wolterbeek, Pro Se

PO Box 306658

St. Thomas, VI 00803

(340) 714-2233

susan@GreenerVI.org

Territory of the US Virgin Islands

District of St. Thomas and St. John

Citizen’s Suit – Affidavit in Support of Motion to Intervene

DISTRICT COURT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

DIVISION OF ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Plaintiff

CIVIL No.   1984-104

GOVERNMENT of the    VIRGIN ISLANDS

Defendant

 

AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO INTERVENE

Now comes Susan K. Wolterbeek, Pro Se, being duly sworn, and hereby states as follows:

VIWMA’s REPORTS REVEAL 77 DAYS OF RAW SEWAGE BYPASSES SINCE 3/18/10

I moved to St. Thomas in part out of deep affection for and commitment to Coral

and Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles, endangered and threatened species living in the coastal

waters directly surrounding the US Virgin Islands. I snorkel and swim in USVI

territorial waters.

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), on March 28, 2011, I requested of

the EPA the start dates, stop dates and rate of flow for all raw sewage bypasses in the USVI

from 1/1/10 until the present. [Exhibit 14].  The EPA furnished 186 Non-Compliance Reports,

150 of which were issued since the 3/18/10 Court Order. A Summary of these reports is at

Exhibit 2.

These Non-Compliance Reports as a whole are available to the Court, should the Court

wish to review them. A few individual Non-Compliance Reports are at Exhibits 15-18,

and 23-25.

The total days of  raw sewage bypasses between 3/18/10 and 3/23/11 reported by

VIWMA exceeds 77 days. Even so, based upon the reports themselves and newspaper articles,

[Exhibits 3-5] there were at least 6 additional days of bypassing raw sewage, and this number is

likely to be significantly higher, as several of the reports do not give stop dates, and some reports

are missing entirely.

On August 30, 2010 NaNa Gut had an “Ongoing “ bypass, [Exhibit 17] as did

Weymouth Rhymer Pump Station on 1/4/11 [Exhibit 18]. Many pump stations were not

working during Hurricane Earl, and state “n/a”, instead of a stop date. [Exhibit 2]. All of

these “Ongoing” and “n/a”  bypasses were counted by me as only one day each, thus the actual

count of raw sewage bypass days may be significantly higher.

VIWMA DID NOT FILE ANY NON-COMPLIANCE REPORTS FOR A MAJOR BYPASS

On 4/28/10, the VI Daily News reported that VIWMA started pumping raw sewage over

Long Reef on Saturday, April 24, 2010, and that the bypassing was expected to continue for the

next five days, while a 4/29/10 report stated the dumping had ceased on 4/27. [Exhibit 3].

This major bypass was not included in the 186 Non-Compliance Reports of 1/1/10-3/23/11

furnished by the EPA. Assuming the EPA gave me all of the Non-Compliance Reports which

VIWMA prepared, then there are no Non-Compliance Reports for a major bypass, in clear

violation of the TPDES Permit and the Clean Water Act.

VIWMA HAS REFUSED TO GIVE REQUIRED PUBLIC NOTICE OF SEWAGE BYPASSES

I have reviewed the Avis and VI Daily News publications, and VIWMA did not give

notice of raw sewage bypasses in these publications according to the TPDES Permit or

3/18/10 Court Order. For example, although there were bypasses at LBJ for at least

4/24/10-4/27/10, at a critical time, during Ironman Triathlon practice swims and just before the

5/2/10 Ironman Race itself, Public Notices were not published every day, and apparently the

beaches were not posted either. There were newspaper articles written, on 4/28 and 4/29, after

the fact, but no public notices in the papers during the dumping of raw sewage. This event was

was barely a month after last year’s Court Order of 3/18/10 directing VIWMA to give Public

Notices as mandated in the TPDES Permit.

From January 27 through February 9, 2011, VIWMA conducted a 13 day, 11.5 hour raw

sewage bypass at LBJ for a new force main. This major planned  bypass should have been

therefore reported in public notices, every day, from January 26, 2011 the day before the bypass

was to commence, through February 10, 2011, the day after the bypass was completed. Instead,

there was a newspaper article in the  VI Daily News on 2/5/11, and one Public Notice in the Avis

on 2/9/11. [Exhibits 19-20].

VIWMA submitted a Non-Compliance Report for January 4, 2011, stating Weymouth

Rhymer station in St. Thomas was having an “Ongoing” bypass, [Exhibit 18] but nothing was

reported in the VI Daily News on January 4th or January 5th, 2011.  Similarly, there were 13 Non-

Compliance Reports for 13 different areas and pump stations on 8/30-8/31, including an

“Ongoing” bypass in NaNa Gut, [Exhibits 2, 17] yet there were no Public Notices in the VI

Daily News for those dates.

There were 2 different bypasses from 2/24/11 to 3/2/11, one broken force main adjacent to

Hovensa, of 6 days 6 hours, and one Figtree broken force main of  5 days 22 hours [Exhibits 23-

24] . Notice was published in the Avis from February 27-March 4 for the Hovensa force main

break, [Exhibit 21] but the notice was run without spacing, in a single column at the end of the

classified ads, not a boxed notice such as the notice of Exhibit 20, which made it difficult to read

and easy to overlook.

During this past month, April – May, 2011, LBJ has been bypassing since sometime in

April. Again, this dumping of raw sewage occurred during the practice swims or even during the

Ironman Triathlon Race itself. VIWMA published identical Public Notices on April 27-29, in the

VI Daily News, [Exhibit 4] but the notices do not give start or stop dates, and VI Daily News

May 4, 2011 newspaper article states that the impacted line “currently is causing an overflow of

sewage in the area”  [Exhibit 5], indicating that the discharge was still ongoing as of May 4,

2011. (If so, the Ironman Triathletes were downstream of LBJ, while LBJ was bypassing raw

sewage during their 1.5 mile swimming race at Christiansted Harbor on May 1, 2011.)

Therefore, the public has no idea when the dumping of raw sewage has started or stopped,

or if it is still continuing today. That same article states that Figtree was bypassing raw

sewage into Cane Garden Bay on May 3, 2011. Indeed, AUSA Frankel cited a May 10, 2011

Non-Compliance Report showing a bypass, which was not reported in the VI Daily News.

When I questioned the Media Relations Coordinator of DPNR about the lack of posting

warning signs on beaches, he confirmed that DPNR does not enforce that requirement, and the

excuse for violating Court Orders was that the hotels don’t like the warning signs. When asked

for the rationale of not posting on non-hotel beaches either, the response was that such posting

would not be fair. Clearly, public safety is not the priority, or following Court Orders.

VIWMA VIOLATED THE 3/18/10 COURT ORDER ON FIGTREE PUMP STATION

On 3/18/10, this Honorable Court ordered that VIWMA keep operational the Flygt house

pump  borrowed from LBJ Pump Station and installed at Figtree in March, 2010. Further,

VIWMA was ordered to get another house pump for Figtree by 3/23/10, and that both pumps

were to be properly maintained and kept operational.

Despite these very specific court orders, according to the 4/11/11 Declaration of Pedro

Modesto, of the EPA, as of March 16, 2011, a year after the Court Order, only the one Flygt

house pump borrowed from LBJ is working at Figtree. The EPA’s Final Submission states that

the 8” Thompson Diesel Back-Up Pump being used at Figtree is “still not able to pump the entire

flow coming into the station.” This statement implies that a partial bypass may be occurring now.

VIWMA VIOLATED THE COURT ORDER ON CANCRYN PUMP STATION

The Cancryn Station pumps 2.5 million gallons of sewage per day in St. Thomas. The

3/18/10 Order specified that VIWMA maintain the 10-inch pump allegedly in operation at that

time, and that VIWMA further certify that the Cancryn pump station have both a six-inch and a

four-inch auxiliary diesel back-up pumps in working order.

VIWMA submitted its certification to the Court on March 23, 2010.  However, in a VI

Daily News article of April 16, 2010, several weeks later, May Adams Cornwall, the Executive

Director of VIWMA is quoted, stating:

“St. Thomas’ Cancryn pump station – the island’s main station-A has been without a

working pump for close to nine months, Cornwall said. A contractor is diverting flow

around  Cancryn to another station while cleaning takes place. The station should be

back up  and running by the end of April, Cornwall said.”

[Exhibit 22].

Further, VIWMA represented during the March 2010 hearing that it would completely

upgrade Cancryn Station using EPA or Dept. of the Interior (DOI) funds. Regardless, on March

16, 2011, a year later, VIWMA admitted to the EPA that it has not begun to upgrade the station,

replacing or repairing pumps and valves, according to the EPA Submission of April 11, 2011.

VIWMA VIOLATED THE COURT ORDER ON AUXILIARY PUMPS

The 3/18/10 Court Order also specifies that 2 auxiliary diesel pumps shall be operational on

St. Croix, by March 26, 2010 (and remain operational). VIWMA avers that the Figtree Diesel

Pump, the LBJ Diesel Pump, and the 6″ Thompson pump used to pump waste over Long Reef

were all operational. In contrast, according to the 4/11/11 Declaration of Pedro Modesto, of the

EPA, these pumps have only been intermittently operational since the Emergency Hearing.

VIWMA reported in early September, 2010, that all three of these backup pumps were non-

operational, and in October, 2010 two of these pumps were not operational. These pump failures

appear to coincide with 8 days of raw sewage bypasses commencing on 9/1/10, as shown by the

Summary of Non-Compliance Reports, Exhibit 2.

THE EPA IS WITHHOLDING FROM THE PUBLIC THE QUANTITY OF RAW SEWAGE BYPASSED INTO COASTAL WATERS

Pursuant to Section 184-26(a)(3) of the TPDES Permit, any information obtained pursuant

to any monitoring, records, reporting or sampling shall be available to the public. The Permit

further specifies: “(b) Claims of confidentiality for the following information will be denied:…

(2) …effluent data.”   33 U.S.C. § 1318 (b) of the Clean Water Act also states specifically that

effluent data shall be available to the public.

Since the Non-Compliance Reports were incomplete, I renewed my FOIA request to the

EPA several times, urging the EPA to furnish to me the start and stop dates and rate of flow for

all raw sewage bypasses, so that I could fully present this evidence to the Court. [Exhibits 8-12].

The EPA has not supplied any further information beyond the Non-Compliance Reports

previously furnished, even though the EPA was to furnish this data on or before 4/18/11.

Further, it appears from remarks by EPA personnel and the reports themselves that the

EPA redacted the flow quantity from the Non-Compliance Reports before furnishing them to me.

Neither the EPA attorneys nor the FOIA Officer for Region 2 with whom I have consulted have

claimed this information is privileged, or given any reason or excuse for failing to comply with 5

U.S. Code §552.

THE EPA GROSSLY UNDERSTATED RAW SEWAGE BYPASSES TO THE COURT

Although I have beseeched the EPA repeatedly to do so, the  EPA will not even alert the

Court to the massive raw sewage bypasses which have occurred since the 3/18/10 Court Order.

[Exhibits 10-12]  Indeed, the EPA’s submission of April 11, 2011 grossly understates these

bypasses.

The EPA does not tell the Court Figtree had bypasses in February and March, 2011 of 5

Days  22 hours and one (by Hovensa) of 6 Days 6 Hours. The EPA mentions a Barren Spot

bypass of 3 days, while the bypass of 3/13/11 – 3/23/11 was actually for 10 days.  Barren Spot

had 18 days 18 hours 30 min. of bypasses, from 3/18/10-3/28/11 in addition to however long

Barren Spot was bypassing during Hurricane Earl.

The EPA mentions some small bypasses by Mon Bijou and Campo Rico pump stations, but

left out a 4/10/2010-4/13/2010 3 day bypass at Mt.Bijou. Other Pump Station Bypasses not

mentioned by the EPA: Lagoon Street PS 3 days 22 hours,  Humbug II PS 5 Days 3 ½ Hours,

NaNa Gut PS 3 Days 6 Hours. Weymouth Rhymer PS and NaNa Gut had bypasses listed as

ONGOING, without any further information, and throughout the territory many pump stations

were out during Hurricane Earl, commencing 8/30/10, without mandatory stop dates. [Exhibits

1,2, 17, 18].

The agency failed to report the major bypasses of LBJ Pump Station. Since Figtree has

LBJ’s Flygt pump and Barren Spot has LBJ’s Back-up pump, it is no surprise that LBJ has had

bypasses from 4/24/10-4/27/10, 9/8/10-9/11/10 and 1/27/11-2/9/11, over 19 days of dumping

raw sewage over Long Reef, in addition to the bypass occurring during April-May 2011,

or still Ongoing, as mentioned above [Exhibits 1-5, 19-20].

I declare under penalty of perjury that, based on information personally known to me,

information provided to me by persons at the EPA, DPNR and VIWMA, and my review of

newspaper articles pertaining to this matter, the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my

information and belief.

Respectfully submitted,

_______________________

Susan K. Wolterbeek, Pro Se

PO Box 306658

St. Thomas, VI 00803

(340) 714-2233

susan@GreenerVI.org

Territory of the US Virgin Islands

District of St. Thomas and St. John

 

This is What the Citizen’s Lawsuit is About

Citizen’s Lawsuit against the EPA and VIWMA, Exhibit 2

1/1/2010-3/23/2011 VIWMA Non-Compliance Reports concerning raw sewage

1/4/2010 VI Resource Center sewage into street paper and debris in line          2 Hours

1/7/2010  Chicken Fry 102 Contant overflow rocks and debris in line               1 Hour

1/11/2010 Campo Rico PS Vent line clogged sewage overflowed                      3 Hours 30 min.

1/12/2010 56 Prindsens Gade sewage into street /rocks and debris                     1 Hour 30 min.

1/11/2010 296A Hospital Ground sewage into street rocks and debris                1 Hour

1/14/2010 St. Croix Renaissance Manhole overflow                                           1 Hour 40 min.

1/15/2010 Mon Bijou PS pump motor malfunction causing overflow          5 hours

1/17/2010  Fig Tree PS house pump failed                                                       5 Hours 30 min.

1/19/2010 Seventh Day Gut sewage overflow/ sand and debris                           1 Hour

1/19/2010 Market Square sewage overflow into street /grease and debris           1 Hour

1/19/2010 Estate Thomas 14QL sewage into street/ grease rocks, stones            2 Hours

1/21/2010 Fig Tree PS  suction house air locked preventing back-up system  1 Hour 30 min.

1/21/2010 Over the Bridge Bar  Excessive Grease and Debris in Line                1 Hour

1/22/2010 Fig Tree PS suction hose defective                                                      5 Hours

1/24/2010 Fig Tree PS Backup Diesel pump air locked                                      1 Hour 30 min.

1/25/2010 17 ABC Prindsens Gade  Excessive rocks and debris in line              1 Hour 30 min.

1/30/2010 Barren Spot PS Pump coupling broke                                             2 Hours 10 min.

2/1/2010 Humbug 1 PS  Pump was air locked                                                  30 minutes

2/4/2010 ED Plumbing Manhole overflow excessive rocks, debris in line          1 Hour 30 min.

2/4/2010-2/5/2010 149 Hospital Ground/grease, debris     says 15 hrs. actually 17 Hours

2/4/2010 146-100 Anna’s Retreat Manhole overflow/excess sand and debris     1 Hour

2/4/2010 Windward Passage Manhole overflow excess rocks and debris           1 Hour

2/5/2010-2/6/2010 15 Crown Bay fill grease, debris says 17 hours, actually     20 Hours

2/7/2010 Kirwan Terrace Lindbergh Bay excess grease and rocks                     1 Hour 30 min.

2/7/2010 Frenchtown McDonald’s manhole overflow grease and debris            2 Hours

2/4/2010 ONGOING LBJ PS  Figtree pumps sent off island substit. LBJ diesel Ongoing

“Pumping over the Reef”

2/10/2010-ONGOING   Barren Spot PS pump failure Ongoing

2/16/2010 Dept. of Labor 2353 Kronprindsens Gade Manhole overflow           5 Hours

2/16/2010 Frenchtown McDonald’s Manhole overflow grease and debris         1 Hour

2/17/2010 Frenchtown McDonald’s Manhole overflow grease and debris         2 Hours

2/17/2010 55 Dronningens Gade Manhole overflow/grease and debris              2 Hours

2/17/2010 2nd Street Estate Thomas Manhole overflow grease and debris         1 Hour 30 min.

2/18/2010 Market Square Manhole overflow grease and debris                         2 Hours

2/18/2010-2/19/2010 Crown Bay Bldg17/Texas Pit/grease, debris                    21 Hours

2/20/2010 14QL Estate Thomas Manhole overflow/dirt, rocks, clothing           2 Hours

2/22/2010 Ulla Miller School Manhole overflow/ grease and debris                  2 Hours

3/19/2010-3/20/2010  Contant 2A-1 Manhole overflow grease/debris               19 Hours

3/20/2010 Domino’s Gas Station, Contant Manhole overflow/grease                2 Hours 30 min.

3/26/2010-4/3/2010 16A-17 Commandant Gade  overflow/grease, debris         9 Days

4/1/2010-4/3/2010 Savan Red Ball Grocery Manhole overflow/grease/sand     48 Hours

4/3/2010 385 Mon Bijou dirt and grease caused lines to clog                             3 Hours 30 min.

4/3/2010 395 Mt. Pleasant manhole overflow                                                     3 Hours

4/4/2010-4/5/2010 Ulla Muller Tamarind Tree overflow/grease, debris             24 Hours

4/4/2010-4/5/2010 200-7-1 Altona  overflow/grease, debris                              25 Hours 30 min.

4/4/2010-4/5/2010 Nadir Racetrack  overflow/sand, debris                               24 Hours 30 min.

4/7/2010 New TuTu Lower Valley PS illegal load of sludge                          4 Hours

4/10/2010-4/13/2010 102 Mt.Bijou Hairline crack in #6 Force Main            3 Days 1 Hour

4/12/2010   Mon Bijou PS Electrical Panel Malfunctioned                            4 Hours 44 min.

4/13/2010  346 Mon Bijou  sewer lines clogged with grease and dirt                22 Hours 15 min.

4/15/2010-4/16/2010 14Q Estate Thomas Manhole overflow/sand, grease       21 Hours

4/16/2010 2nd Street Estate Thomas Manhole overflow/sand, grease                     4 Hours

4/17/2010-4/18/2010 Vicinity of Gomez School Manhole overflow/grease        27 Hours

4/19/2010 Fig Tree PS electrical switch tripped                                                   36 minutes

4/21/2010-4/22/2010 Behind Old Lucy’s Market overflow/grease, debris          24 Hours

5/3/2010 394-364 Hidden Valley overflow/rocks, debris                                     1 Hour

5/5/2010 Old PWD Yard  station breaker malfunctioned                                     3 Hours 45 min.

5/5/2010 Old PWD Yard  Sewage bubbling Burnt and defective wiring             1 Hours 30 min.

5/10/2010-5/11/2010 394 C-2 Anna’s Retreat Manhole overflow/grease debris 18 Hours

5/12/2010-5/13/2010 1st Ave. Sugar Estate sewage into gut/grease, debris         26 Hours 30 min.

5/14/2010 Concordia PS Discharge Vent Hose line came loose                           45 minutes

5/19/2010 Concordia PS Pump Vent Line Clogged                                              45 minutes

5/24/2010 Bluebeard’s Castle overflow into street/stone, debris                          1 Hour 30 min.

5/24/2010 23-15 Commandant Gade Manhole overflow/grease, debris               4 Hours

6/13/2010 Barren Spot PS Pump Coupling Sheared                                        1 Day 4 Hours

6/15/2010 202 Anna’s Retreat Manhole overflow/sand, stone, debris                 5 Hours 30 min.

6/17/2010 Crown Bay Marina sewage backing up into business/grease,debris   3 Hours

6/19/2010 Cancryn PS Pump impeller clogged                                                    30 minutes

6/19/2010 Cancryn PS Shut PS off to prevent overflowing reg. 6MGD              3 Hours

6/19/2010 Bovoni Texaco Both pumps tripped off-line/storm water                   1 Hour

6/19/2010 Long Bay PS All pumps blocked with stormwater debris                 2 Hours

6/20/2010 Long Bay PS Both Pump impellers blocked                                        2 Hours

6/20/2010 Bovoni Texaco Both Pumps tripped/clogged stormwater debris        4 Hours

6/28/2010 Barren Spot PS Pump vent line Plugged                                           1 Hour 15 min.

7/4/2010 239 Concordia Clogged Sewer Line                                                 16 Hours 50 min.

7/20/2010 Mangrove Lift Station Sewage overflow, heavy rain                          6 Hours

7/21/2010 Market Square overflow into street/grease, stones, debris                   6 Hours

7/21/2010 Savan Lutheran Church sewage in street/ grease, rags debris              3 Hours 30 min.

7/21/2010 Polyberg Domino’s Gas sewage in street/ grease, stones, debris         3 Hours

7/24/2010 Mangrove Lift Station Sewage overflow, pump tripped                      1 Hour 15 min.

7/26/2010-7-27/2010 Savan Basketball Ct. overflow onto Bask. Ct/dirt,stone  30 Hours

7/26/2010 Prindsens Gade sewage in street/ grease, sand, debris                         2 Hours

7/27/2010 Pearson Gardens overflow into street/ grease and stone                      2 Hours

7/27/2010 199AB Hospital Ground sewage in street/rocks,dirt debris                 1 Hour

7/27/2010 Subbase Tennis Courts Sewage in Street/ grease, gravel, stone          9 Hours

7/30/2010 #3A Mon Bijou Manhole clogged with tree roots and debris              2 Hours

8/5/2010 #3A Mon Bijou Manhole clogged with tree roots and debris                1 Hour

8/18/2010 Polyberg Domino’s gas sewage into street /sand, stone, debris           2 Hours

8/18/2010 Jah Yard Hospital Ground sewage into street /sand, stone, debris       2 Hours

8/19/2010 Barren Spot PS Pump lost its prime                                                1 Hour 45 min.

8/21/2010 Barren Spot PS Couplings were destroyed                                    15 Hours 30 min.

8/23/2010 Green Corner sewage into street grease/gravel/debris                            3 Hours

8/21/2010 Dept. of Labor sewage into street/ Sand, grease debris                          2 Hours 30 min.

8/23/2010 Campo Rico PS Diesel pump suction line separated                        2 Hours 35 min.

8/24/2010  Barren Spot PS Couplings were off balanced                                        2 Hours

8/30/2010 Fig Tree PS Electrical surge                                                                1 Hour 15 min.

8/30/2010  Barren Spot House Pump Failed                                                       1 Hour 45 min.

8/30/2010-8/31/2010 New TuTu Lower Valley Pump PS failed/loss electric         1 Day?

8/30/2010-8/31/2010 Bovoni Texaco PS  failed/loss electric power Hurr. Earl      1 Day?

8/30/2010-8/31/2010 Bovoni Housing PS  failed/loss electric power Hurr. Earl    1 Day?

8/30/2010-8/31/2010 Weymouth Rhymer PS  failed/loss electric power Hurr. Earl  1 Day?

8/30/2010-8/31/2010 Subbase PS failed/loss electric power Hurr. Earl                     1 Day?

8/30/2010  NaNa Gut PS  failed/loss electric power Hurr. Earl ONGOING

8/30/2010-8/31/2010 Cancryn PS  failed/loss electric power Hurr. Earl       11 Hours 30 min.

8/30/2010-8/31/2010 Long Bay PS  failed/loss electric power Hurr. Earl                  1 Day?

8/30/2010-8/31/2010 Airport PS  failed/loss electric power Hurr. Earl                      1 Day?

8/30/2010-8/31/2010 Bourfield Amco PS  failed/loss electric power Hurr. Earl        1 Day?

8/31/2010  Campo Rico PS WAPA Power Surges- pump malfunction         1 Hour 15 min.

9/1/2010 Ulla Muller School  Manhole overflow/ grease, debris                               7 Hours

9/1/2010 Green Corner   sewage in street/ grease, stones debris                                7 Hours

9/1/2010-9/3/2010 Barren Spot Broken 8” sewer force main                     2 Days 5 Hours

9/5/2010-9/7/2010 Barren Spot House Pump Failed                           2 Days 9 Hours 30 min.

9/8/2010 Barren Spot PS House Pump Failed                                                          12 Hours

9/8/2010-9/11/2010  LBJ Broken Force Main                                      2 Days 18 Hours 30 min.

9/9/2010 3359-3360 Nadir Manhole overflow stone and debris                                6 Hours

9/9/2010 Na Na Gut PS impeller pump clogged with debris                           3 Hours 30 min.

9/13/2010 Cancryn PS station off-line flow control relay malfunction              50 minutes

9/13/2010 11B Lindbergh Bay Happy View into street/dirt, paper, debris                2 Hours

9/14/2010 Estate TuTu E1 Manhole overflow/rocks, bottles, grease debris              3 Hours

9/14/2010 2-25 Bovoni Sewage in street/ stones, gravel, debris                                1 Hour

9/16/2010-9/17/2010 Garden Street Villa Fair View sewage in st/dirt, paper     25 Hours, 30 min.

9/17/2010 1-2 Haabets Gade Sewage in Street/dirt, wire hangers, paper                  4 Hours

9/19/2010 Backstreet Manhole overflow/excessive grease                                    3 Hours 30 min.

9/19/2010 #84 Contant Sewage in Street/excess gravel and stone                         1 Hour 30 min.

9/20/2010 35 Anna’s Retreat Sewage in Street/dirt, tree roots                                  3 Hours

9/21/2010 Bovoni Racetrack Sewage overflow/rocks, gravel                                   3 Hours

9/22/2010 Fig Tree PS electrical malfunction                                                       30 minutes

9/23/2010 Campo Rico PS suction hose came away                                             59 minutes

12/2/2010 Campo Rico PS clogged vent line                                                         40 minutes

12/2/2010-12/3/2010 Barren Spot ditch line for diesel pump separated      27 Hours 15 min.

12/5/2010 Ramsey Guest House Sewage in Street/Sand, grease, gravel                1 Hour 30 min.

12/6/2010 394-171 Anna’s Retreat overflow into yard/ sand and gravel               3 Hours

12/6/2010 Bovoni Racetrack Sewage in Street/ sand and gravel                           4 Hours 30 min.

12/13/2010-12/14/2010 394-134 Hidden Valley sewage in yd/debris, sand        25 Hours 30 min.

12/13/2010-12/14/2010 11B Upper Contant sewage in yd/sand, gravel              24 Hours

12/15/2010 Hospital Ground (Wallace Bldg) overflowing/grease, gravel             2 Hours

12/18/2010 Lagoon Street PS house pump failed-sewage overflow                 3 days 22 hours

1/4/2011 Weymouth Rhymer PS      Force Main Break Ongoing

1/4/2011  143A 13 Anna’s Retreat   Sewage overflowing excessive rags, debris  2 Hours

1/6/2011-1/10/2011 148-50 Anna’s Retreat overflow, excess. Rags, debris          4 Days 2 Hours

1/7/2011-1/10/2011 146 92 Anna’s Retreat overflow/ excessive rags, debris        3 Days 3 Hours

1/9/2011-1/14/2011 Humbug II PS Obstructed Force Main                          5 Days 3 ½ Hours

1/10/2011 Chicken Fry manhole overflow excessive grease, debris                      2 Hours 30 min.

1/10/2011 Metro Motors  overflow-excessive sand and stone                                2 Hours 30 min.

1/10/2011 Frenchtown manhole overflow/excessive Grease                                  4 Hours

1/10/2011 Soto Town, Contant sewage overflow/sand and dirt                              4 Hours

1/14/2011 St Croix Rennaissance sewer line clogged with dirt                               1 Hour 30 min.

1/16/2011   Campo Rico PS  clogged suction line                                              2 Hours 12 min.

1/27/2011-2/9/2011 LBJ new force main “10 days 11.5 hrs”     (actually 13 Days 11.5 Hours)

1/30/2011  148-166 Estate TuTu  Manhole overflow/excessive dirt, rocks           26 Hours

1/31/ 2011   Campo Rico PS wastewater overflow/clogged vent line                    25 minutes

1/31/2011    46 Sion Farm  Manhole overflow/grease clogged line                       2 Hours

1/31/2011 Frenchtown Excessive dirt rocks and stones in line                              3 Hours

2/2/2011 29-A Contant Sewage overflow, grease and gravel                                1 Hour 30 min.

2/3/2011 #5 First Street, Sugar Estate sewage overflowing                                   4 Hours 30 min.

2/3/2011 Cancryn PS WAPA outage caused pump to fail                                    12 Hours

2/11/2011-2/14/2011 Peter’s Rest Manhole Overflow (48 Hrs/30 min) real:    72 Hours 30 min.

2/14/2011 125-60 Old TuTu sewage overflow- excess stone, gravel, debris       1 Hour 30 min.

2/14/2011 Long Path Garden Street overflow-paper towel, gravel, debris           1 Hour 30 min.

2/16/2011 Gomez School Sewage overflow- excess grease in line                      1 Hour

2/17/2011 Chicken Fry manhole overflow excess grease and debris                   2 Hours 30 min.

2/17/2011  Credit Union 34B-35 Norre Gade manhole overflow                         1 Hour 30 min.

2/18/2011 172 Anna’s Retreat manhole overflow, excess rocks sand, debris      3 Hours 45 min.

2/22/2011  29A Contant Sewage overflowing                                                       1 Hour 30 min.

2/22/2011 Monbijou PS Busted Suction Line Gasket                                        2 Hours 15 min.

2/22/2011-2/23/2011 McDonald’s, Frenchtown overflow-excessive grease        24 Hours

2/22/2011-2/23/2011 NaNa Gut PS sewage flowed into gut                                 1 Day?

2/23/2011 Barren Spot PS busted discharge hose                                           3 Hours 15 min.

2/23/2011 Weymouth Rhymer PS   pump was air locked                              3 Hours 15 min.

2/23/2011 New TuTu lower PS station overflow                                              2 Hours

2/23/2011 Chicken Fry excessive grease and debris in line                                   2 Hours 30 min.

2/23/2011 Contant Car Wash sewage overflowing into street-rocks, gravel         1 Hour 30 min.

2/23/2011 Palms Strada #16GB manhole overflow excess grease, debris             4 Hours

2/24/2011-3/2/2011 Force main adj to Hovensa Broken Force Main            6 Days 6 Hours

2/24/2011-3/2/2011 Fig Tree PS  Broken Force Main                                     5 Days  22 hours

2/25/2011-3/1/2011 Hospital Ground sewage into street/gravel, stones             4 Days 35 min.

3/2/2011 Barren Spot PS pump impeller was blocked with debris                         10 minutes

3/3/2011-3/4/2011 Monbijou PS Defective Pump bypassing                              22 ½ Hours

3/10/2011 Campo Rico PS Clogged Suction Line                                                  50 minutes

3/10/2011 178 and 236 Altona and Welgunst excess branches, trees, debris           2 Hours

3/12/2011   Campo Rico PS “Non- compliance Form will follow”                      15 minutes

3/13/2011-3/23/2011 Barren Spot PS/submersible pump had elec. failure       10 Days

3/14/2011-3/15/2011  Anna’s Retreat basketball ct. grease, rocks                 1 Day 1 Hour 15 min.

3/14/2011-3/15/2011 First Ave. Sugar Estate into street grease/debris                   24 Hours

3/18/2011 New TuTu Lower PS pump station off-line shaft seal failed          1 Hour 30 min.

3/21/2011-3/24/2011 NaNa Gut PS   Pump impeller                                          3 Days 6 Hours

3/23/2011 Campo Rico PS  Clogged Vent Line                                                 15 minutes

NOTE 1:      SEVERAL OF THE BYPASSES STATE “ONGOING” WITHOUT STOP DATES, SO THE COUNT MAY BE SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER.

NOTE 2:      THESE NON-COMPLIANCE REPORTS ARE NOT COMPLETE. THEY DO NOT REFLECT THE LBJ BYPASS WHICH COMMENCED ON 4/24/10. THAT BYPASS, REPORTED 4/28/10 IN THE VI DAILY NEWS, OCCURRED DURING THE TIME IRONMAN TRIATHLETES SWAM THEIR PRACTICE SWIMS AND JUST BEFORE THE IRONMAN RACE IN CHRISTIANSTED HARBOR ON 5/2/10, IN THE AFFECTED WATERS.

NOTE 3      THE BYPASSES WHICH APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN PUMPED INTO COASTAL WATERS, THROUGH PUMP STATIONS,  ARE BOLDED.

 

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