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Letter to New EPA Administator – 2/19/2017

Dear Administrator Pruitt:

Please allow me to introduce myself: My name is Susan Wolterbeek. I was an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County, a private and NH Attorney for DCYS on Child Abuse and Neglect cases, and I have been doing my best for the past 9 years without any financial support, to help protect Coral and Turtles, Endangered Species, and to get the EPA (and NOAA) to do their job in the USVI. As you can see by the attached IG’s Report from 2015, the EPA failed miserably, and continues to allow criminals to get paid huge salaries, drive fancy cars, get huge pensions, all at the cost of the Endangered Species and the people who live here. Since the people who live here are predominantly minorities, our Civil Rights are also being violated every day by the very Federal Agencies sworn to protect us.

After trying briefly to work with local agencies, I focused my energy on federal agencies to follow federal laws, MOU’s and their own Mandates. In 2009, I was able to prove to USACE that our then Governor and head of Port Authority had lied to USACE 3 times, in writing, in combination with their application to dredge St. Thomas Harbor and dump the dredge spoils into Lindberg Bay, St. Thomas. After reading my attached article published in the VI Daily News, USACE allowed the Governor to pull his application to avoid prosecution, and they did not dump in Lindberg Bay.

Then I learned, after living here for over 12 years, because it was not reported in our newspapers, as required, that VI Waste Management was dumping hundreds of millions of gallons of raw, untreated sewage and toxins regularly into our coastal waters, and according to the EPA itself, private dumping by hotels, etc. was twice as bad. When Judith Enck was newly appointed, she immediately took strong action against NY and NJ environmental criminals, and continued to do so, but she refused, repeatedly, to prosecute in the USVI. This is not only selective prosecution, she had a mandate by the MOU on Minority Juridictions to take corrective action, to weigh in as big brother, so that the corrupt local government would stop lining their pockets with federal funds, and actually take care of the environment.

When she first visited these islands in February 2010, Administrator Enck was not told by Jim Casey of the EPA, or anyone supervising DPNR, (I told her) that VIWMA was right then in the middle of dumping  3.4 Millions of Gallons of raw sewage and toxins, per day, for 60 days, from LBJ Pump Station over Long Reef in St. Croix, and two other pump stations in St. Croix were also dumping, at the same time, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Judith Enck did instruct EPA lawyers to go back to Court, twice, in 2010 and 2011, on a Clean Water Act case the EPA brought in 1984, but all the EPA did from 1984 onward was fine VIWMA for their dumping of raw sewage, and cut their federal funds. The lawyers assigned to the case, particularly Donald Frankel and Eduardo Gonzales, did not know, and did not seem to care, what the actual facts were, which I had gleaned from Non-Compliance Reports given to me by Jim Casey and newspaper articles showing May Adams Cornwall herself and others from VIWMA signed off on documents to the Court saying they were in compliance, had bought the necessary pumps, etc, when they had not, despite what they told and then certified to Judge Gomez. Please see the attached letters to Gonzalez and Frankel, as well as what the Federal Judges have said over the years.

Bottom line, we have open, overflowing dumpsters infested with rats to place our garbage. There is no recycling. We have huge “Dumps” on St. Thomas, (which now looks like a mountain) and St. Croix which were ordered closed decades ago. These unlined dumps leach into our groundwater, and there is a pipe which spews heated, turbid “water” from the St. Thomas Dump into our coastal waters. Heat and turbidity kill coral. WAPA, our power company, also has a heated pipe spewing water into our coastal waters. There is a closed aluminum factory on St. Croix which is spreading Red Mud, laden with toxic, heavy metals, into communities in St. Croix.

WAPA cuts our power now every other day, for hours. They call it rolling blackouts. We had almost no power Christmas week, Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. Thus in addition to the up to 56 cents we have had to pay a kilowatt, when the national average is 8-10 cents, we also have to have our home diesel generators running, so our January 2017 bill for 2 people without air conditioning was $238 plus $57 for the diesel. Now WAPA promises more power cuts and intends to increase our rates 40%, because the corrupt local government and the hospitals apparently do not pay their WAPA bills at all.

There are pump out stations required at every marina- but no one at DPNR or EPA enforces this at all. There is just 1 pump out station for St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island, so the boaters and yachts just dump their waste directly into the coastal waters. The air pollution from ships blowing their stacks leaves a black, tarry residue on beach chairs and the local outside vendors and their wares.

The IG over the EPA finally investigated in 2014, and published in 2015 that the EPA MUST take over Waste Management, DPNR and WAPA, because those corrupt and grossly inefficient local agencies were not protecting our environment. The EPA continually refuses to take over these local agencies, or follow the MOUs on the Endangered Species Act, EO 13089, the MOU on Minority Jurisdictions, and the EPA is violating our Civil Rights every day, because the people who live here are mostly Minorities. There are criminal laws associated with these federal laws being violated every day by the EPA, and NOAA, along with VIWMA, DPNR and WAPA.

         Every time the EPA is aware of ANY dumping of raw sewage and toxins, the EPA MUST report to NOAA and have a Formal Evaluation, because of the Coral and Turtles who live here- the EPA has not done that here apparently since the MOUs became active, some decades ago.

I thought getting a Director for the Caribbean was going to help, but I met with Carmen Guerrero in September, told her these big issues and specific ones too. For example, Betty’s Hope Beach near Enfield Green, St. Croix has large fully formed human feces on its beach, Waste Management said it wasn’t their fault, and DPNR did not take care of it. Also, at Abi Beach Bar, at the edge of Green Cay Plantation, an area never developed or permitted because it is a nesting ground for endangered turtles, owner Nicolosi moved ground with heavy equipment and no permits, and apparently told people to come to the bar for turtling as the endangered species were hatching. Someone put it up on Facebook and you can see the turtles in buckets, attached. Nicolosi, apparently without any local agency’s knowledge, also planned to develop the entire 150 acres calling it Sanctuary Cove, and was trying to get investors over the internet. Please see the attached. Finally, because of the outraged neighbors, DPNR initially fined Nicolosi $250,000, then DPNR apparently made a “deal” that Nicolosi could fund $100,000 in scholarships for worthy students. Who knows if he paid that out. He belongs in jail for what he did to the turtles. I told all this to Director Carmen Guerrero when we met in September. When I asked Jim Casey at that meeting if I could see the file, he got cute. Casey said I could not see a file undergoing investigation. I asked if the EPA was investigating that matter, and he finally admitted the EPA was not. We have no transparency here at all in government, even with the local members of the federal government.

I reiterated all this and these specific examples when I wrote to Director Guerrero in December and included 40 attachments of proof of our terrible environmental situation here in the USVI. Please see attached.

Director Guerrero scheduled a call conference with me on Friday, February 3, 2017. She had a month and a half to read the 5 page letter to her and the attachments, but when I asked her about the Abi Beach Bar “deal” with DPNR, she said she had no idea what I was talking about, and she admitted she had not read all the attachments. I said, you also did not even bother to read my letter to you, Carmen, let alone the 40 attachments, because Abi Beach Bar and Sanctuary Cove figured prominently in my 5 page letter to her.  See attached.

As I said to Judith Enck in my letter to her of May 17, 2010, which she admitted she completely forgot about after later reading my letter published on March 2, 2011, WE COULD EASILY HAVE A CHOLERA OUTBREAK HERE. WE HAVE AN OVERWHELMING AMOUNT OF STAPH INFECTIONS, but Judith refused to even ask the local hospitals and doctors for data on how many staph infections they have been treating, or ask the CDC to do so.

I have worked for 9 years on trying to get the EPA and NOAA to follow the federal criminal laws, MOU’s and then the  2015 IG’s Report, but Director Guerrero still says the EPA will not take over Waste Management, DPNR and WAPA, and has no plans to do so. Even the EPA reported to U.S. Congress in 1998 how bad off the U.S. Virgin Islands were then, 19 years ago, yet curiously that USVI section in Chapter 5 was deleted from the Report and is no longer attainable on line. Attached is a copy.

Through GreenerVI.org I have become a liaison for locals to tell me what is going on environmentally. Although Director Guerrero assured me that DPNR is taking a very active role now, it turns out that nothing could be further from the truth. Apparently for 8 months DPNR has been out of fuel funds to gas up their boats, and they have not done any patrolling or enforcing at all. In the lagoon, where our mangroves grow, which are the life of the island, people are tying 30-40 boats directly onto the mangroves, which kills them. There are apparently 30 derelict boats with fuel tanks and other polluters sinking into the water, which have been ticketed, but DPNR has not towed them away or done anything with them. I have been told that Companies have been CLEARCUTTING mangroves to put up illegal docks, with no permits. The areas to check are around EcoTours, Tropical Marine and Compass Point Marina. I cannot verify the above information myself, I do not have a boat, but you can order it to be done.

Please help us, NOW! We need our water tested, correctly, and thoroughly, and not by DPNR and Amy Dempsey’s company, whose tests the EPA itself threw out for years. If you look at the newspaper article about the 2015 IG’s report, as well as the report itself, you will see we are and have been in an emergency situation for years. Please weigh in now, and get our water tested, and we really need a federal task force, with the Dept. of Energy, NOAA, Dept. of the Interior  and Fish and Wildlife. After all my years of pushing there is finally a federal criminal investigation ongoing into environmental crimes in the USVI, so perhaps that will spur the EPA to do its job, but I am begging you please, Administrator Pruitt, to finally make the coral, turtles and humans of the USVI a priority for the EPA.

We need help, Mr. Pruitt, as we needed it 19 years ago, but now the environment is so bad it just can’t sustain us anymore. We already have 200 beaches that are polluted, and the fecal coliform and turbidity is terrible, and unless stopped, will kill the rest of the coral, which needs clean, clear water to survive. Most of our seagrasses are gone, which is what our green turtles feed on. We need to start recolonizing coral and seagrasses and sponges, but first the dumping must stop! Please help us, and not with words but with the action the IG reported- take over the local corrupt and inefficient agencies and save us before it is too late.

Sincerely, Susan K. Wolterbeek, Esq.,

President GreenerVI.org POB 306658, St. Thomas, VI 00803

(340) 714-2233        susan@greenervi.org

IG Report: EPA Must keep Toxins out of our Waters!

OIG EPA Must Make sure toxins in Sewage Treatment Plants not get into waters

Stop the Coral World Dolphin Enclosures

September 29, 2014

 

Edgar W. Garcia

District Engineer, Antilles Permit Section

400 Fernandez Juncos Avenue

San Juan PR 00901

Edgar.W.Garcia@usace.army.mil

 

Re: Objection to St. Thomas VI Caged Dolphin Proposal SAJ-1976-89037

 

Dear District Engineer Garcia:

 

     The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should deny Coral World’s application, for moral, societal and economic reasons, as detailed below, and as submitted by the many concerned citizens who have spoken out and written against the proposal.  From a legal standpoint, such permitting would be a taking of  Elkhorn and other corals, and thus a violation of the Endangered Species Act and President Clinton’s Executive Order 13089, which gives All Coral the same protection as Staghorn and Elkhorn Coral.

 

     Further, this summer, the EPA finally declared DPNR to be a high risk agency. (See EPA Letter of 5-23-14 and VI Daily News article dated 7-7-14).  DPNR has shown its many and comprehensive failures to monitor, protect and police our coastal waters. Without a competent enforcement agency to ensure compliance with the many laws, health and safety concerns, USACE itself would knowingly be in violation of many federal laws and federal agency Memorandums of Understanding if it granted this permit to Coral World.

 

 

DPNR HAS PROVEN, OVER THE YEARS,  ITS INABILITY TO ACCURATELY TEST VI COASTAL WATERS

 

     In order for USACE to determine whether the proposed permit would violate federal laws in regard to water quality, USACE must establish there is a presently accurate working system to test water quality, that DPNR enforces that system, and that the caged dolphin proposal will not be deleterious to the water quality for dolphins, humans and endangered species.

 

     DPNR conducts two kinds of water tests in the USVI, the weekly, far more superficial beach reports, and the in-depth testing of hundreds of locations, which must be reported every 2 years. In 2010, the EPA reviewed the in-depth water testing results by local DPNR for 3 years: 2007, 2008 and 2009.

 

     DPNR’s water tests taken during 2008 and 2009 were specifically and totally rejected by the EPA.   See the DPNR 2010 Water Quality Report excerpts,  i.e.

“Due to issues with internal data collection, which included malfunctioning equipment, USEPA evaluated DPNR Basic Water Quality Monitoring Program data for FY2008 and 2009. USEPA determined there could be noreliance on any DO, pH, turbidity and temperature data reported from the field.”

 

 

     DPNR’s unreliable or incorrect data was in areas specifically critical to Coral, an endangered species.  Although the EPA rejected DPNR’s water test results for 2008 and 2009, it kept the data from 2007.  Was the data collected correctly in 2007? Even so, using the 2007 data as if it were correct, the EPA cited 204 USVI beaches as already being “Impaired”. See the 2010 EPA Report at: http://greenervi.org/impaired-or-threatened-beacheswaterways/

 

     DPNR did not do any update, as required, in 2010, 2011 or 2012, despite all the documented hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage dumped by VI Waste Management in 2010-2011. See the 3-30-11Wastewater Discharges and the 4-11-11 letter to EPA Attorney Edouardo Gonzales.  We are still awaiting the information from the EPA to update the discharges from 2011 through the present.  See letter to G. Garrison and his reply.

 

     DPNR is required to test USVI coastal waters and post the report every 2 years.  Thus, since the EPA excluded the 2008 and 2009 test results, DPNR and the EPA should have immediately retested our waters in 2010, as I requested of Judith Enck in my letter of May 16, 2010, attached. After all, many hundreds of millions more gallons of raw sewage have been dumped into our coastal waters since 2007, and 204 of our beaches were already impaired then, and that was 7 years ago.

 

     In a meeting with me in August 2013, EPA Region 2 stated that the EPA would finally start collecting water quality data the following month, in September, 2013. Those tests, (taken 6 years after the data upon which EPA proclaimed there were  204 Impaired Beaches in the USVI), have still not been shared by the EPA with the public, the actual people who swim in those waters. Thus 7 years later, not 2, DPNR and the EPA have still not presented any new data on the current condition of our impaired beaches, or the in depth reports on our coastal waters. Please see letter to EPA G. Garrison and his reply.

 

     Further, according to the EPA’s 2014 DPNR=high risk agency report, EPA Region 2 was aware DPNR did not have a contract with the company that was collecting beach monitoring samples and had not paid the company for sampling work since July 2012. Region 2 provided documentation indicating that it had repeatedly contacted DPNR about the issue for a year, “with no results.”

 

     Thus, DPNR has not been taking accurate water samples for years, and those test results from September 2013 are still not being divulged to the public, let alone acted upon. DPNR’s own reports show that turbidity was the biggest problem, temperature readings were thrown out for years, and each of these factors alone has been proven to kill coral.

 

     How, logically, can USACE make any determinations in regard to the proposed impact on water quality, when the water quality of the US Virgin Islands is kept secret?

 

DPNR OFFICIALS HAVE REFUSED TO PROSECUTE TO PROTECT USVI COASTAL WATERS AND HAVE BEEN PROVEN CORRUPT AND USING DPNR EQUIPMENT TO VIOLATE FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAWS

 

     Many areas of USVI local government have been acting illegally, as documented by numerous OIG reports and FBI actions.  Despite multiple Court Orders, no one at DPNR (or the local EPA)  has stopped waste management from dumping hundreds of millions of gallons of raw, untreated sewage over the past 30 years.

 

     DPNR also has consistently refused to prosecute the criminals, resulting in continual malfeasance without punishment. From a practical and economic standpoint, if the criminals know DPNR will not prosecute, they will continue to pollute our coastal waters.  Instead of actively protecting our coastal waters, DPNR enforcement officials were actively committing their own federal crimes, and using DPNR equipment to commit those crimes.

 

     Since 2008, Local DPNR officials have been convicted on multiple counts of bribery, embezzlement and cocaine smuggling. Please see attached Dept. of Justice Memorandum and newspaper articles.

 

     Last year, DPNR Enforcement Director Tapia Plead Guilty to Cocaine Smuggling, and using DPNR equipment to further his crimes.

 

     According to the EPA website, VIWMA (with documented dumping of hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage) is only 1/3 of the problem. Thus,  private dumping, (hotels, corporations, etc.) are twice as bad.   Therefore, historically, DPNR is incapable of  monitoring, protecting and policing USVI coastal waters.

 

VIWMA HAS BEEN DUMPING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF GALLONS OF RAW, UNTREATED SEWAGE INTO VI COASTAL WATERS FOR 30 YEARS

 

     Before determining whether the proposed caged dolphin areas may cause harm, for basic due diligence in regard to water quality in USVI coastal waters, USACE must review the filings and documentary evidence in VI Fed Dist. Ct. Case 1984-104, United States V. Government of the USVI.

 

     According to EPA Region 2 and its own documents, local VI Waste Management [VIWMA] has been dumping hundreds of millions of gallons of raw, untreated  sewage and chemicals into USVI coastal waters, per year, on and off,  for the past 30 years, since 1984.

 

     For example, see the Wastewater Discharges from 1-1-10 through 3-1-11 which we compiled from VIWMA non-compliance reports sent by the EPA, in addition to the 4-11-11 letter to EPA Attorney Edouardo Gonzales, as well as all non-compliance reports since 3-1-11.

 

     Even with mandatory reporting pursuant to the TPDES Permit and the Clean Water Act, there are blatant, enormous discrepancies between reality and the official Non-Compliance Reports VIWMA submits to DPNR and the EPA. For example, VIWMA recorded in official Non-Compliance Reports to the EPA that between January 16-March 16, 2010,  LBJ pump station was out of service for a total of 13.5 hours. Nevertheless, on May 11, 2011, VIWMA officials admitted in Federal District Court that LBJ Pump Station was actually pumping raw sewage directly into our coastal waters at 3.4 million gallons, per day, for 60 days, or 1440 HOURS, instead of the reported 13.5 hours.  Thus, in just one instance, out of  hundreds of others that were not verified, VIWMA reported less than 01% of the actual raw sewage dumped. We have repeatedly brought up these outrageous inconsistencies to the EPA, yet VIWMA still does not even put quantities on its non-compliance reports, and often keeps dumping over a million gallons per day.

 

     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.

 

     According to the EPA website, VIWMA (with documented dumping of hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage) is only 1/3 of the problem- private dumping, (hotels, corporations, etc.) are twice as bad.   Therefore, historically, DPNR is incapable of  monitoring, protecting and policing USVI coastal waters.

 

 

     In January, 2014, Coki Beach itself was closed to people for swimming and fishing due to pollution. Where would the dolphins be taken, if those waters are that polluted?  If DPNR cannot monitor the water correctly for humans, or prosecute criminals who dump sewage, who will protect the caged dolphins in their polluted water?

 

RAW SEWAGE IS HARMFUL TO THE MARINE ECOSYSTEM, AND IS PARTICULARLY HARMFUL TO CORAL

 

     In 2011, Federal District Judge Gomez ordered the EPA, DPNR, and VIWMA to stipulate that dumping raw, untreated sewage impaired the health of humans and coral. Perhaps USACE can obtain a copy of that Stipulation. Even the Consent Order of 24 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 reef-building corals at trapping and removing sediment from their surface. Staghorn and Elkhorn Coral are both threatened species, protected by the Endangered Species Act.

 

     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 …”

 

FAILING TO REGULATE VIWMA AND PRIVATE DUMPING, DPNR AND THE EPA ARE VIOLATING THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

 

     The Endangered Species Act [ESA] establishes an interagency consultation process to assist federal agencies in complying with their Section 7(a)(2) duty to guard against jeopardy to listed species or destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. Under Section 7(a)(2), federal agencies must consult with the Service to determine whether their actions will jeopardize listed species’ survival or adversely modify designated critical habitat, and if so, to identify ways to modify the action to avoid that result. 50 C.F.R. § 402.14 (2010).

 

     An agency must initiate consultation under Section 7 whenever its action “may affect” a listed species or critical habitat. 50 C.F.R. § 402.14(a).

 

     In the case at hand, there is the best evidence possible, because causation of harm to Coral is stipulated between the EPA, DPNR and VIWMA. Therefore, the parties have stipulated that the dumping of raw, untreated sewage into coastal waters is harmful to humans and Coral.  That Stipulation, coupled with VIWMA’s own non-compliance reports showing their continued dumping of raw sewage prove that VIWMA, DPNR and the EPA are knowingly, repeatedly in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

 

     Based upon the above facts, and until USVI coastal waters have a clean bill of health, we suggest that no licensing should be issued by USACE for any actions in USVI coastal waters. As a federal regulatory agency with notice as to these ongoing criminal activities, please will USACE report to NOAA pursuant to the MOU of the ESA.

 

     An agency is required to review its actions “at the earliest possible time” to determine whether the action may affected listed species or critical habitat. 50 C.F.R. § 402.14(a).

 

     The scope of agency actions subject to consultation are broadly defined to encompass “all activities or programs of any kind authorized, funded, or carried out, in whole or in part, by Federal agencies.” 50 C.F.R. § 402.02 (definition of “action”).

 

     In the case at hand, there is the best evidence possible, because causation of harm to Coral is stipulated between the EPA, DPNR and VIWMA. Therefore, the parties have stipulated that the dumping of raw, untreated sewage into coastal waters is harmful to humans and Coral.  That Stipulation, coupled with VIWMA’s own non-compliance reports showing their continued dumping of raw sewage prove that VIWMA, DPNR and the EPA are knowingly, repeatedly in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

 

PRESIDENT CLINTON’S EXECUTIVE ORDER 13089 MANDATES THAT ALL CORAL IS PROTECTED, NOT JUST STAGHORN AND ELKHORN CORAL

 

     Executive Order 13089 protects all Coral found in US waters, mirroring the Endangered Species Act in its provisions.

 

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.

 

     Despite the above Executive Order, the EPA is not protecting and enhancing USVI coral reef ecosystems, nor is the EPA ensuring that its actions will not degrade the condition of the USVI coral. To the contrary, the EPA is allowing the degradation to continue.

 

     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.

 

HUMANS SWIMMING AND SNORKELING HERE ARE SUFFERING FROM FROM STAPH INFECTIONS AND FLESH EATING BACTERIA

 

     In February, 2013, the EPA held a symposium at UVI in regard to its concern for Coral. Please ask the EPA for a copy of that transcript, because it was taped. At that meeting, many of us testified as to personal knowledge and the general local awareness of hundreds if not thousands of documented cases of  staph infections and even flesh eating bacteria from swimming in our coastal waters.  USVI doctors and hospital personnel see many of these cases every day.

 

     One of the people with a staph infection and flesh eating bacteria spoke eloquently to the conference, said that she swam every day in Brewer’s Bay, for exercise, and clearly got her infection from our coastal waters. Please see the attached photograph of her leg. We were told that any lists we compile as to illnesses are only anecdotal, yet when asked, Administrator Enck specifically refused to alert the CDC.

 

     Thus, there is a large amount of people getting staph infections and intestinal diseases in the USVI, yet the EPA will not coordinate with H&HS or the CDC to even look at opening an investigation. The CDC will not talk to us citizens- the EPA must request the CDC’s intervention, and Judith Enck refused to do so. Please see the attached photograph, and the CDC data sheet on Cholera in Haiti.

 

     We are very concerned we will get cholera, as well as a host of other diseases and infections. The cholera breakout in Haiti was caused by a leak in the bathrooms of a U.N. facility, resulting in a total of 534,647 cases, 287,656 hospitalizations, and 7,091 deaths (as of 5-4-2012). In the case of the US Virgin Islands, we do not just have a leak. VI Waste Management at times has been  pumping out over a million gallons a day. When multiple pump stations are down, those numbers escalate dramatically.

 

     Despite this track record, since 2010, Region 2 has only been urging VIWMA to act correctly, when it has not done so for 30 years and the dumping continues. We still do not have recycling, garbage is collected unsorted, in large smelly open bins, often with rats. [Plague is a possibility, too.]We have 2 unlined community dumps that leach onto the land here and also into our coastal waters and we have a large mass of “red mud” which is being blown around the land and waters of St. Croix.  Anyone at Region II will verify these facts, including Judith Enck and her attorneys.

 

     Further, as a minority constituency, pursuant to the  MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND EXECUTIVE ORDER 12898, the USVI qualifies for the additional protection and action the federal government is required to take on our behalf. Please see attached MOU.

 

CONCLUSION

 

     For 4 years now, we at greenervi.org have continually requested that the EPA actively stop the dumping, prosecute all criminals and enter into formal consultations with NOAA.

 

     Judith Enck suggested I sue the EPA, which I finally did, bringing a Citizen’s Suit through a Motion for Joinder. Then the EPA strenuously objected to my Citizen’s Suit, tooth and nail and the parties reached “settlement” before I could join, which agreement was again immediately violated.

 

     Despite the mandatory consultation requirements under the Endangered Species Act, to date the EPA has refused to have any mandatory consultations with NOAA in regard to the continued dumping of raw, untreated sewage.  The EPA refuses to prosecute anyone under the ESA or CWA, or to instruct the US Attorney to do so.

 

     DPNR is designated by the EPA to be an “at risk” agency, and DPNR cannot be entrusted by USACE to protect, monitor or police VI coastal waters.

 

     There is a competent environmental engineering company which is licensed and ready to step in and take over VIWMA, to give us full recycling and close the unlined dumps, but the EPA refuses to act, except to have endless meetings.

 

     Based upon the above facts, and until USVI coastal waters have a clean bill of health, we suggest that no licensing should be issued by USACE for any actions in USVI coastal waters. As a federal regulatory agency with notice as to these ongoing criminal activities, please will USACE report to NOAA pursuant to the MOU of the ESA.

 

     We at greenervi.org are preparing a Citizen’s Suit against the EPA, DPNR, et al pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. We will be glad to supply copies of filings to your office. Further, we will be glad to speak with you at your convenience and will supply any additional documents you would like.

 

     Attached is my letter to Coastal Zone Management dated 12-20-12 specifically addressing moral, societal, practical and ethical grounds for denying this application by Coral World.  I will send all the attachments in batches.

 

Sincerely,

 

Susan K. Wolterbeek, President

GreenerVI.org          1A4 Estate St Peter             PO Box 306658

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

 

LBJ Pump Station offline 2011-2013

What follows is information I culled through the internet. Many of these are proudly reported on VIWMA’s website.

 

DPNR’s website for the USVI does not offer any of this information to us citizens. We cannot access relevant, pertinent health information except that our beaches are fine, according to their limited tests, which do not test for nitrogen and key contaminants.

 

 

In 2010, the EPA finally reviewed DPNR’s water tests of all the coastal waters of the USVI, from the years 2008 and 2009- and threw them out. The tests performed for all the USVI coastal waters were all invalid.

 

 

Therefore, the only data the EPA has reviewed in the past 7 years, (besides superficial beach monitoring) is data from 2007. The water quality in 2007 showed that 204 of our beaches in the USVI were impaired. How much worse are our waters now, 7 years and 300+ million gallons of raw sewage later?   Despite my constant appeals to the EPA to test our coastal waters over the past 4 years, they only started in September 2013, and they have not given us the results.

 

 

Very little is reported in the newspapers, either, despite Federal Court Orders and continued flagrant violation of the TPDES permit by all concerned. As you can see below, no public notices were given every day of discharge, from beginning to end. I will read through all the newspapers over the past 3 years and see if I find any more notices by looking in person.  I will request all non-compliance reports since March, 2011, again, and will get them to you. 

 

 

LBJ Pump Station Offline January 18, 2011

To complete the first phase of the replacement of a force main at the LBJ Pump Station on St. Croix, the V.I. Waste Management Authority will take the pump station offline today through Jan. 27.

During the completion of the work, sewage will be pumped over Long Reef.

 

LBJ Pump Station offline

Published: January 19, 2011

 

To complete the first phase of the replacement of a force main at the LBJ Pump Station on St. Croix, the V.I. Waste Management Authority will take the pump station offline today through Jan. 27.

During the completion of the work, sewage will be pumped over Long Reef.

The final portion of work for Phase One of the LBJ project includes connecting the newly installed 24-inch force main to the existing system; replacing the flow meter and stand pipe at the pump station; and cleaning of the pump station’s wet well.

The Waste Management Authority is advising all residents with impacted immune systems to avoid the area during this time, as the sewage may contain contaminants that will negatively impact one’s health.

 

LBJ Pump Station Bypass Continues

By Source Staff — February 7, 2011

A planned sewage bypass at St. Croix’s LBJ Pump Station pumping waste over Long Reef will continue until Wednesday due to unforeseen, necessary additional work, according to the V.I. Waste Management Authority. Residents of the LBJ Housing Community and the condo row area should avoid standing water and not use the beach for the time being. Those with weakened immune systems should avoid the area, according to WMA

WMA is replacing a 24-inch force main and doing work on the sewer pump station.

It was necessary to shut down the pump station to allow the contractor to empty and clean its wet well, drain the gravity sewer system and the force main, replace the flow meter and connect the new force main to the pump station, according to WMA.

After the existing force main pipe alignment was exposed, difficulties in making the connection required more time than the 10-days initially planned. Cleaning of the pump station’s wet well was delayed due to excessive sludge and debris. The backwash and drainage of the existing force main had to be phased and controlled over a longer period of time to avoid sewer system overflows.

 

VI Waste Management Authority Institutes its Austerity Program

February 17, 2012

(St. Thomas, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority announces its Austerity Program consisting of comprehensive costs cutting measures as it related to public services. These actions include the reduction of operating hours, the termination of programs, and internal controls to reduce the costs of doing business in an effort to reduce operating costs while still providing the services necessary to achieve our mandate to protect public health and our environment.

Effective February 21, 2011, the hours of operation for the Bovoni Landfill will be changed from 6am-6pm Monday through Friday to 6am-4pm, Monday through Friday. Operating hours of 6am-2pm on weekends and holidays will remain the same. The Anguilla Landfill operating hours will remain same, 6am-4pm, Mondays thru Fridays and 6am-1pm on weekends and holidays. The St. John Susannaberg Transfer Station hours of operations will remain the same at 7am-5pm on weekdays and 7am-12pm on weekends and holidays.

Residents are reminded to take all bulk waste and white goods, such a furniture, bedding, refrigerators and stoves, directly to the transfer station or landfills. Also, all waste deposited at public bin sites is to be placed directly into the bins and not on the ground next to the bin to encourage a cleaner environment and reduce additional costs for removal of illegally dumped items. Residents should also flatten all boxes and other bulky items prior to disposing them.

Effective March 1, 2012, the Saturday hours of operation for the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Centers on St. Thomas and St. Croix will be discontinued. These facilities will continue to be open for operations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am-3pm.

The Authority regrets to announce that several community outreach programs will be suspended until further notice. These include the following

  1. Youth Employment Summer (YES) Program (Territorially)
  2. Community Enrichment Grant (CEG) Program (Territorially)
  3. The Greenhouse Program (St. Croix District)

In addition to reduction of public services, the Authority has also taken steps to reduce administrative and overhead expenses including vehicle fuel and energy consumption at offices and facilities. Longer term renewable energy projects to reduce operating costs are also in the planning phases.

“We are asking the general public to comply with these changes and assist the Authority in keeping our islands clean and to adhere to the guidelines for proper waste disposal.  We thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we work together to weather the economic challenges and financial difficulties we all face in the Virgin Islands,” said May Adams Cornwall, Executive Director.

For more information, please contact the Office of Communications Management at 690-4218 or 712-4951.

 

VIWMA Issues Wastewater Rules and Regulations

June 20, 2012

(St. Thomas, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority advises the public that it has promulgated the Rules and Regulations for Wastewater. These rules and regulations are available to the general public and business owners and can be obtained from the Authority’s Division of Compliance Management and Environmental Enforcement located at the William’s Delight Office in St. Croix, the Department of Public Works on St. Thomas and the Susannaberg Transfer Station on St. John for a reproduction fee of $5 per copy. The Rules and Regulations can also be downloaded for free from this website from the Wastewater Rules and Regulations page.

All residents are advised that compliance with the VI Waste Management Authority’s Wastewater Rules and Regulations will be enforced effective August 1, 2012. Various penalties are established within the Rules and Regulations for violations. The guidelines for the proper disposal of wastewater are described within the Wastewater Rules and Regulations. Violators will be cited accordingly.

The Wastewater Rules and Regulations have been adopted and published as pursuant to the authority vested in the VI Waste Management Authority as set forth in Title 29, Chapter 8, Virgin Islands Code, Section 496(c) and Title 19, Chapters 53 through 56, Virgin Islands Code, for the administration of its operations and management responsibilities.

The purpose of these rules and regulations is to ensure that the public’s health, safety and welfare and the environment are protected by the proper operation and management of landfills, wastewater, solid waste, and hazardous waste collection, disposal and treatment. The Wastewater Rules and Regulations are required to achieve and maintain compliance with the mandatory requirements of Territorial and Federal laws, including the Clean Water Act and the General Pretreatment Regulations and regulations as applicable to wastewater, solid waste, hazardous waste and landfills.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 340-690-4218.

 

VIWMA Begins Mon Bijou Phase II Sewerline Repair Project

June 20, 2012

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority advises the residents of Mon Bijou that the Authority will be commencing Mon Bijou Phase II Sewer Line Repair Project on Monday, June 25, 2012.

The project is expected to be completed within six months and will not affect any vehicular traffic in the area. The Mon Bijou Phase II Sewer Line Repair Project includes the installation and replacement of approximately 1,710 linear feet of six-inch ductile iron sewer line with eight-inch PVC sewer line, 900 linear feet of service lateral sewer line and 15 manholes in the vicinity of the Frangipani Recreation Park and the upper portion of Mon Bijou. The work will not impact any traffic in the residential areas.

The VI Waste Management Authority apologizes for any inconveniences this may cause as we continue to improve the wastewater sewer line infrastructure.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 340-690-4218.

 

LBJ Force Main Break Causes Sewage Overflow

July 31, 2012

(St. Thomas, VI) – The V.I. Waste Management Authority advises the residents of St. Croix that a break in the LBJ Force Main has caused sewage overflow problems in the vicinity of the John F. Kennedy Housing Community. The VIWMA was notified of the sewage overflow today at 8:30 a.m.

Corrective measures began immediately and emergency contractor, O’Reilly Construction, was contracted to evaluate and repair the broken force main. At 10 a.m., the LBJ pump station’s house pumps were taken off-line to eliminate wastewater flow in the impacted area and to clear the line of wastewater to facilitate the emergency repair work.

While the pumps are off-line, sewage will bypass through the sewer interceptors in the adjacent area. Residents are asked to avoid the beaches in the Condo Row area until the repairs are completed and the beaches are deemed safe by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. People with impacted immune systems are especially advised to avoid the beaches during this time as the sewage may contain contaminants that may negatively affect one’s health. Notices will be posted at the affected beaches to alert the public.

While the repairs are underway, the VIWMA will continue to disinfect the impacted area to minimize any risks to the public. As we work expeditiously to make the necessary repairs to the LBJ Force Main, the Authority apologizes for any inconveniences this work may cause.

For more information, contact VIWMA Acting Wastewater Director Ann Hanley at (340) 712-4955 or (340) 712-4986.

 

LBJ Force Main Repairs Completed

August 01, 2012

(St. Thomas, VI) – The V.I. Waste Management Authority announces that repairs to the LBJ Force Main have been completed, ending sewage overflow problems in the vicinity of the John F. Kennedy Housing Community.

The repairs by emergency contractor O’Reilly Construction were completed at 1:30 a.m. this morning, after the problems were first reported Monday morning around 8:30 a.m. The LBJ pump station’s house pumps, which had been taken off-line to facilitate the emergency repairs, are back in service and no sewage bypass is reported.

However, residents and boaters are being asked to avoid the beaches in the Condo Row area until they are deemed safe to swim by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Notices that were posted at the beaches remain in effect until clearance by DPNR.

For more information, contact VIWMA Acting Wastewater Director Ann Hanley at (340) 712-4955 or (340) 712-4986.

 

VIWMA Closes Condo Row Beaches Due to Sewer Line Break

October 12, 2012

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority advises St. Croix residents that the beaches along Condo Row in Christiansted are being closed immediately until further notice due to a sewer line break in the vicinity of the LBJ Pump Station. Residents and visitors are asked to refrain from swimming or fishing in the area at this time.

The LBJ force main experienced a break in the sewer line on Friday morning, causing the Authority to close the beaches in the immediate area. The task order contractor, O’Reilly Plumbing, has been mobilized and will be working to repair this break as soon as possible. A rupture occurred in the 24-inch force main line leading to the LBJ Pump Station just east of the station. The extent will not be known until an assessment has been performed and then the repairs will be done immediately. The Authority will be performing odor suppression operations to reduce the impact in the immediate area during this time.

Residents of LBJ Housing Community, Condo Row condominiums and neighboring areas are asked to refrain from using the beaches in the immediate area. Once the repairs have been made, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources will test the waters along the beaches and determine their access.

Persons with impacted immune systems are asked to avoid the immediate area of the LBJ Pump Station and any standing water in the area until the repairs have been completed.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause as we work to make improvements to the wastewater infrastructure.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 690-4218.

10/13/2012: VIRGIN ISLANDS: Sewer line break near LBJ Pump Station prompts WMA to close beaches. (Radio).

PLEASE NOTE: November is recycling month- so they have elementary schools collect cans for them, and the children’s parents take the cans to the aluminum can facility near the airport!

http://www.viwma.org/Libraries/PDFs/VI_Recycle_Month_2013_flyer.sflb.ashx

 

 

VIWMA Commences LBJ Sewer Force Main Project Phases 2 & 3

November 29, 2012

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) advises residents that the Authority will be commencing Phases 2 and 3 of the LBJ Sewer Force Main Project on Monday, December 3, 2012.

The scope of work for the project includes the installation of 4500 linear feet of a structural liner inside of the existing 24-inch ductile iron sewer line pipe. The project will commence in the vicinity of LBJ Housing Community adjacent to the WAPA Water Distribution Tank and will travel east along Northside Road (Route 75) and south along Queen Mary Highway (Route 70). The project will end in the vicinity of the intersection of Queen Mary Highway and the entrance to Queste Verde Condominiums by Beeston Hill.

The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Interior in the amount of $1.8 Million dollars and the contract was awarded to O’Reilly Plumbing & Construction, Inc. The project is expected to be completed within six (6) months.

For the duration of the project, there will be temporary lane closure during the working hours on Mondays thru Sundays which may include up to 24-hours per day. The left lane will be closed in 1000-foot intervals and will be re-opened at the end of each work day. Active work areas will be secured daily with barricades with reflective surfaces.

Motorists are asked to adhere to the directives of the flagmen and to reduce vehicular speed when approaching the construction zone. Motorists are also encouraged to use alternate routes during this construction period.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience this project may cause as we strive to improve the wastewater infrastructure in the area.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 715-9110.

 

VIWMA Advises of Closed Christiansted Beaches

January 17, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority advises St. Croix residents and visitors that some Christiansted beaches have been closed until further notice.

On Tuesday, while performing repair work to a sewer line along the Krause Lagoon Interceptor, the LBJ Pump Station was taken offline temporarily. This allowed for the replacement of a portion of sewer line in the area behind the Department of Public Works in Anna’s Hope. While the LBJ Pump Station was offline, wastewater was discharged into the coastal interceptor causing the beaches along “Condo Row” to be closed for public use. The repairs were made to the impacted line and the LBJ Pump Station was placed back online on Tuesday evening.

Christiansted beaches in the “Condo Row” area will remain closed until the water quality is tested by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and the beaches are deemed safe for use.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause as we continue to strive to upgrade the wastewater infrastructure.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 340-715-9110 or 340-690-4218

 

VIWMA Repairing Broken Sewerline Behind Harris Court

January 18, 2013

(St. Thomas, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority advises Oswald Harris Court residents on St. Thomas of a broken sewerline in the gut area behind the housing community.

The Authority’s Wastewater crews have performed an interim repair on the pipeline to minimize the bypassing of wastewater into the gut. It is anticipated that repairs to the pipe will be completed by Sunday afternoon. The crew will also be applying odor control to the site to alleviate any odors.

Residents are asked to avoid any running or sanding water in the area and to prevent children from playing in the area. Persons will impacted immune systems should also avoid the immediate area.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause as we continue to strive to upgrade the wastewater infrastructure.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 340-715-9110 or 340-690-4218.

 

VIWMA Repairing LBJ Broken Force Main

January 18, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority advises St. Croix residents and visitors that the LBJ Pump Station is currently offline due to a broken force main sewer line. The broken line was found in the open green space near the WAPA Storage Tank in Richmond on Friday morning by VIWMA employees and contractor.

The impacted area will be excavated to determine the extent of the damage and the broken portion of line will be replaced.

Due to the broken force main sewer line, the LBJ Pump Station is currently offline. Wastewater is being discharged into the Coastal Interceptor and the beaches along “Condo Row” continue to be closed for public use, including swimming and fishing.

VIWMA has posted “Beach Closed” signs at the affected beaches and those Christiansted beaches in the “Condo Row” area shall remain closed until the water quality is tested and the beaches are deemed safe for use.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause as we continue to strive to upgrade the wastewater infrastructure.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 340-715-9110 or 340-690-4218.

 

Repairs Completed to LBJ Broken Force Main

January 22, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority advises St. Croix residents and visitors that the repairs to the LBJ Force Main were completed at 2pm on Saturday, January 19th and the LBJ Pump Station was put back into service.

To complete repairs to the LBJ Force Main, the VIWMA and its contractor, O’Reilly Construction, replaced approximately 20-feet of sewer line, which experienced a hairline crack.

Christiansted beaches in the “Condo Row” area will remain posted and closed until the water is tested and the beaches are deemed safe for use.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause as we continue to strive to upgrade the wastewater infrastructure.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 340-715-9110 or 340-690-4218.

 

VIWMA Advises of Closed Frederiksted Beaches

February 20, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority advises St. Croix residents and visitors that some Frederiksted beaches have been closed until further notice.

On Wednesday afternoon, a force main break adjacent to the Lagoon Street Pump Station was discovered. The break is located approximately 500 feet south of the station in the gut adjacent to the St. Patrick’s School playground.

The Authority’s task order contractor has commenced repairs. During the excavation and repair period, the flow will be directed into the lower portion of the gut and the mouth of the gut on the Frederiksted Beach will be opened to allow for the release of the flow.

The Frederiksted and Dorsch Beaches will be closed until further notice and signs have been posted accordingly. The Department of Tourism has been notified and will inform cruise ship visitors of the beach closures and the alternate beach choices.

The two Frederiksted beaches will remain closed until the water quality is tested by the Authority and the beaches are deemed safe for use.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause as we continue to strive to upgrade the wastewater infrastructure.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 340-715-9110 or 340-690-4218.

 

VIWMA Updates Public on Frederiksted Beach Closures

February 21, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority updates St. Croix residents and visitors regarding the Frederiksted beaches north of Lagoon Street Pump Station.

At this time, Beach Closure signs are placed on Frederiksted Beach as a precautionary measure. The signs have been removed from Dorsch Beach as there is no threat of bypass/impact. The VI Waste Management Authority advises residents and visitors that currently no wastewater is being discharged into the Frederiksted Beach. The flow is currently being diverted into the adjacent gut and the Authority has received permission from the Department of Planning and Natural Resource’s Division of Coastal Zone Management to reinforce the existing berm at the mouth of the gut which prevents the flow from entering the beach area and the ocean.

The Authority will continue to maintain the existing berm and apply odor suppressant to lessen the impact on the surrounding area.

Excavation has been performed and work has commenced on the repair to the impacted force main sewer line.

The Frederiksted Beach will remain closed until the water quality is tested by the Authority and the beach is deemed safe for use.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause as we take corrective actions and upgrade the wastewater infrastructure.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 340-715-9110 or 340-690-4218.

 

VIWMA Begins Mobilization on LBJ Sewer Force Main Project Phases 2 & 3

February 21, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) advises St. Croix residents that the Authority will begin the mobilization for Phases 2 and 3 of the LBJ Sewer Force Main Project on Friday, February 22, 2013. The initial mobilization work will include the placement of 18-inch piping for the pump around of sewage from manhole to manhole. This will prevent any spillage of wastewater while structural lining is being inserted into existing portions of sewer line.  [NOTE: SEE MAY 22nd– goldenrock mall flooded with sewage.]

The scope of work for the project includes the installation of 4500 linear feet of a structural liner inside of the existing 24-inch ductile iron sewer line pipe. The project will commence in the vicinity of JFK Housing Community adjacent to the WAPA Water Distribution Tank and will travel east along Northside Road (Route 75) and south along Queen Mary Highway (Route 70). The project will end in the vicinity of the intersection of Queen Mary Highway and the entrance to Queste Verde Condominiums by Beeston Hill.

For the duration of the project, there will be temporary lane closure during the working hours on Mondays thru Sundays which may include up to 24-hours per day. The left lane will be closed in 1000-foot intervals and will be re-opened at the end of each work day. Active work areas will be secured daily with barricades with reflective surfaces.

Motorists are asked to adhere to the directives of the flagmen and to reduce vehicular speed when approaching the construction zone. Motorists are also encouraged to use alternate routes during this construction period.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience this project may cause as we strive to improve the wastewater infrastructure in the area.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 715-9110 or 690-4218.

 

Update: LBJ Sewer Force Main Project Phases 2 & 3 VIWMA Announces Road and Lane Closures Scheduled

March 19, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) advises residents of the planned road closure and land reduction as part of the LBJ Phases 2 & 3 Force Main Sewer Line Rehabilitation Project.

There will be temporary lane closure on Mondays thru Sundays which may include up to 24-hours per day. The left lane will be closed in 1000-foot intervals and will be re-opened at the end of each work day. Active work areas will be secured daily with barricades with reflective surfaces. Total road closure may occur in short intervals to allow for the crossing of the roadway to complete a connection.

The road and land closure for this week includes the following:

  • Northside Road, ROUTE 75: Wednesday March 20th, commencing at 7pm, the roadway in front of the LBJ Housing Community’s eastern entrance between Juanita Gardine Elementary School and the Intersection of Northside Road will be closed to all through traffic. The road will be opened no later than 5am. Traffic from the JFK Housing Community will be allowed to enter/exit access at all times from the east side of Route 75.
  • Centerline Road, Route 753: Thursday, March 21st, beginning at 7pm, the road will be reduced to one lane; except for a 20minute window when it will be closed in order to install the bypass piping in the trench.
  • Queen Mary Highway, ROUTE 70: Friday, March 22nd, starting at 7pm, the roadway will be reduced to one lane with work completed no later than 5am.

The schedule may be modified at any time due to inclement weather.

The LBJ Force Main Phases 2 & 3 Project includes the installation of 4500 linear feet of a structural liner inside of the existing 24-inch ductile iron sewer line pipe. The project travel east along Northside Road (Route 75) and south along Queen Mary Highway (Route 70). The project will end in the vicinity of the intersection of Queen Mary Highway and the entrance to Queste Verde Condominiums by Beeston Hill.

Motorists are asked to adhere to the directives of the flagmen and to reduce vehicular speed when approaching the construction zone. Motorists are also encouraged to use alternate routes during this construction period.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience this project may cause as we strive to improve the wastewater infrastructure in the area.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 715-9110 or 690-4218.

 

Update: LBJ Sewer Force Main Project Phases 2 & 3 VIWMA Announces Road and Lane Closures Scheduled

March 25, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) advises residents of the planned road closure and lane reduction as part of the LBJ Phases 2 & 3 Force Main Sewer Line Rehabilitation Project.

The road and land closures for this week include the following:

  • Northside Road, ROUTE 75: starting on Wednesday, March 27th, and Thursday, March 28th, at 7pm until 5am, traffic will be re-routed westbound by Juanita Gardine Elementary School and eastbound at the intersection of Centerline Road by the Golden Rock Shopping Center. Residents of the JFK Housing Community will be allowed access at all times.
  • Queen Mary Highway, ROUTE 70: starting on Friday, March 29th thru Tuesday, April 2nd, the road will be reduced to one lane beginning at the intersection of Queste Verde entrance and Queen Mary Highway northward to the intersection by the Golden Rock Shopping Center in 1000-foot intervals to allow for connections.

The schedule may be modified at any time due to inclement weather.

The LBJ Force Main Phases 2 & 3 Project includes the installation of 4500 linear feet of a structural liner inside of the existing 24-inch ductile iron sewer line pipe. The project travel east along Northside Road (Route 75) and south along Queen Mary Highway (Route 70). The project will end in the vicinity of the intersection of Queen Mary Highway and the entrance to Queste Verde Condominiums by Beeston Hill.

Motorists are asked to adhere to the directives of the flagmen and to reduce vehicular speed when approaching the construction zone. Motorists are also encouraged to use alternate routes during this construction period.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience this project may cause as we strive to improve the wastewater infrastructure in the area.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 715-9110 or 690-4218.

 

 

UPDATE: LBJ Sewer Force Main Project Phases 2 & 3 Weekly Update: Lane Closures Planned

April 15, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) updates St. Croix residents of this week’s planned schedule for the LBJ Phases 2 & 3 Force Main Sewer Line Rehabilitation Project.

The road and land closures for this week include the following:

  • Queen Mary Highway, ROUTE 70: starting on Monday, April 15th thru Sunday, April 21st, the road will be reduce to one lane beginning at the entrance to Queste Verde Condominiums northward to the intersection by Golden Rock Shopping Center in 1000ft intervals each day.

The schedule may be modified at any time due to inclement weather.

Motorists are asked to adhere to the directives of the flagmen and to reduce vehicular speed when approaching the construction zone. Motorists are also encouraged to use alternate routes during this construction period.

The LBJ Force Main Phases 2 & 3 Project includes the installation of 4500 linear feet of a structural liner inside of the existing 24-inch ductile iron sewer line pipe. The project travel east along Northside Road (Route 75) and south along Queen Mary Highway (Route 70). The project will end in the vicinity of the intersection of Queen Mary Highway and the entrance to Queste Verde Condominiums by Beeston Hill.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience this project may cause as we strive to improve the wastewater infrastructure in the area.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 715-9110 or 690-4218.

 

Update: LBJ Sewer Force Main Project Phases 2 & 3 – Week of May 13th Work Progresses With Cleaning and Lining Commences

May 10, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) updates St. Croix residents of the Week of May 13th’s schedule of work for the LBJ Phases 2 & 3 Force Main Sewer Line Rehabilitation Project.

The road and lane closures for this week include the following:

  • Queen Mary Highway, ROUTE 70: continuing on Monday, May 13th, thru Sunday, May 19th, the road will remain reduced to one lane from the entrance of Queste Verde Condominiums northward to the intersection by the entrance to the JFK Housing Community in 1000ft intervals each day.

During this week, the contractor will be using Closed Captioned TV (CCTV) equipment to evaluate the condition of the sewer lines prior to cleaning them. Once this work is completed, the lining of the existing sewer line will commence. This will include the installation of 4500 feet of a structural liner inside of the existing 24-inch ductile iron sewer line pipe.

The schedule may be modified at any time due to inclement weather.

Motorists are asked to adhere to the directives of the flagmen and to reduce vehicular speed when approaching the construction zone. Motorists are also encouraged to use alternate routes during this construction period.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience this project may cause as we strive to improve the wastewater infrastructure in the area.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 715-9110 or 690-4218.

 

ALERT: Pump-Around Sewer Force Main Line Failure and Sewage Spill LBJ Sewer Force Main Project – Phases 2 & 3

May 22, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) advises St. Croix residents of a sewage spill in the Golden Rock area causing sewage to flood the Golden Rock Shopping Center’s parking lot and surrounding areas.

This morning, at approximately 11:15am, the temporary above-ground pump-around sewer force main became disconnected resulting in a sewage spill into the Golden Rock Shopping Center’s parking lot in the vicinity of Pueblo Supermarket. The VI Waste Management Authority’s personnel advised the impacted businesses, communities and the school of the situation. The Juanita Gardine School was advised by the VIWMA to take precautionary measures regarding their students, and, consequently, parents were contacted and the school was dismissed early.

The LBJ pump station was taken off-line temporarily until the line is repaired. Repairs to the impacted line are expected to be completed by early this evening, at which time the LBJ Pump Station will be returned to normal service. The holding capacity in the pump station wet well and gravity sewer lines filled with sewerage from Christiansted town and the neighboring areas are currently surcharged and the overflow is currently going over Long Reef. This situation will be corrected early this evening.   [Was this corrected? When? Where are the announcements in the newspapers, radio, and on the VIWMA and DPNR website??]

Nonetheless, as a precautionary measure, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources has closed the beaches in the area of “Condo Row” from the LBJ Housing Community westward to the Mill Harbor shoreline. Residents and visitors are asked to refrain from swimming and fishing in this area until the Department of Planning and Natural Resources has deemed the beaches safe for use.

The Authority will be assisted the VI Fire Services to wash down the parking lot and the VIWMA Wastewater Division staff will sanitize and deodorize the impacted areas. The Authority apologizes to the Golden Rock Shopping Center’s businesses and their customers, the residents of the JFK Housing Community and the faculty, staff, parents and students of the Juanita Gardine School for any inconvenience that this incident may have caused.

The Authority’s contractor will continue to evaluate the condition of the LBJ force main with closed circuit television (CCTV) equipment prior to the cleaning and slip-lining of the force main to improve the structural integrity of the existing line. Upon completion of the repairs to the impacted pump-around sewer force main, the scheduled work shall resume.

The road and lane closures for this week include the following:

Queen Mary Highway, ROUTE 70: continuing thru Sunday, May 26th, the road will remain reduced to one lane from the entrance of Queste Verde Condominiums northward to the intersection by the entrance to the JFK Housing Community in 1000ft intervals each day.

The contractor will continue to use the Closed Captioned TV (CCTV) equipment to evaluate the condition of the sewer lines prior to cleaning them. Once this work is completed, the lining of the existing sewer line will commence. This will include the installation of 4500 feet of a structural liner inside of the existing 24-inch ductile iron sewer line pipe.

The schedule may be modified at any time due to inclement weather.

Motorists are asked to adhere to the directives of the flagmen and to reduce vehicular speed when approaching the construction zone. Motorists are also encouraged to use alternate routes during this construction period.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 715-9110 or 690-4218.

 

 

Update: LBJ Sewer Force Main Project Phases 2 & 3 Week of June 17th: Lining of the Pipes Continues

June 17, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) updates St. Croix residents of the Week of June 17th’s schedule of work for the LBJ Phases 2 & 3 Force Main Sewer Line Rehabilitation Project.

The road and lane closures for this week include the following:

  • Queen Mary Highway, ROUTE 70: continuing on Monday, June 17th, thru Monday, June 24th the road will remain reduced to one lane from Route 70 by the entrance of Queste Verde Condominiums northward to the intersection of Routes 66, Contentment Road, and along Route 703, to the intersection of the Golden Rock Shopping Center and Route 75, Northside Road.
  • As determined by the VI Police Department, one way access will cause detours around the project site.

The VI Waste Management Authority has been working closely with the VI Police Department, coordinating the road closures and work schedule to reduce the inconvenience to the motorists. The contractor is working diligently to have work completed in this phase and have the road reopened as soon as possible. The back filling of the current access pits should be completed and repaved by the end of this week, weather permitting. Additional access pits have to be dug, but impact to the traffic will be reduced as much as possible.

This project includes the installation of 4500 feet of a structural liner inside of the existing 24-inch ductile iron sewer line pipe which eliminates the need to excavate and is a more timely and cost effective method of repairing the existing sewer lines. The lining portion of the project is almost 50% completed. The last phase of the lining portion will be conducted behind the JFK Housing Community and will not impact traffic.

The schedule may be modified at any time due to inclement weather.

Motorists are also encouraged to use alternate routes during this construction period. Motorists are asked to adhere to the directives of the police officers and flagmen and to reduce vehicular speed when approaching the construction zone.

The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience this project may cause as we strive to improve the wastewater infrastructure in the area.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 715-9110 or 690-4218.

Update: LBJ Sewer Force Main Project Phases 2 & 3 Week of August 12th: Testing of the Lining of the Sewer Pipes Scheduled

August 12, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) updates St. Croix residents of the Week of August 12th’s schedule of work for the LBJ Phases 2 & 3 Force Main Sewer Line Rehabilitation Project. The project is approximately 85% completed. All of the pipe lining has been completed and the contractor is currently pressure testing the newly lined force main. The project is expected to be completed within three (3) weeks, weather permitting.

The road and lane closures for this week include the following:

  • Queen Mary Highway, ROUTE 70 and Contentment Road Route 66: This section of road has been reopened from the Golden Rock traffic light to the intersection of Contentment Road.
  • There will be some construction activity in the vicinity of the Golden Rock traffic signal and motorist are reminded to adhere to traffic control directives.

This project includes the installation of 4500 feet of a structural liner inside of the existing 24-inch ductile iron sewer line pipe which eliminates the need to excavate and is a more timely and cost effective method of repairing the existing sewer lines. The lining portion of the project is almost 50% completed. The last phase of the lining portion will be conducted behind the JFK Housing Community and will not impact traffic.

The schedule may be modified at any time due to inclement weather.

Motorists are also encouraged to use alternate routes during this construction period. Motorists are asked to adhere to the directives of the police officers and flagmen and to reduce vehicular speed when approaching the construction zone. The Authority apologizes for any inconvenience this project may cause as we strive to improve the wastewater infrastructure in the area.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 715-9110 or 690-4218.

 

Update: VIWMA Commences Work on Cruz Bay Wastewater Pump Station

August 21, 2013

(St. John, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority advises St. John residents that work will be commencing on the Cruz Bay wastewater pump station located adjacent to the Cruz Bay parking lot on Monday, August 26, 2013.

Mobilization of the project will begin on Monday, August 26th. Twelve (12) spaces in the Cruz Bay public parking lot will be closed during the construction period. These spots are located adjacent to the existing pump station. The solid waste disposal bin will also be re-located for the duration of the project. Residents are asked to use the existing waste disposal sites in areas of Enighed Pond, Julius Sprauve Elementary School, the Basketball Court or Pine Peace.

The Authority through its contractor, Island Roads Corporation, will be expanding and upgrading the existing wastewater pump station in Cruz Bay to meet the increasing demands of the town area. The current facility, located adjacent to the public restrooms by the public parking lot, has been operational for more than 30 years and has exceeded its useful life. The new facility will prevent failures and spillages from occurring and facilitate more efficient cost savings operations.

This project, which is funded by the US Department of Interior in the amount of $1.184 Million, includes the construction of a new pump station including the installation of a sewer force main, gravity sewer lines and manholes and the elimination of the existing ejector station and replacing it with an automated submerged system with a wet well and standby generator. The removal and abandonment of the existing infrastructure of existing sewers, excavation, grading, paving, maintenance and protection of existing utilities will also be included in the project which is scheduled to take approximately one year to complete.

The Authority apologizes to the residents of St. John for any inconvenience that this project may cause as we work to improve and upgrade the quality of wastewater collection in the Cruz Bay area.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at 715-9110 or 690-4218.

UPDATE: St. Croix Wastewater Projects LBJ Pump Station Upgrade

November 13, 2013

(St. Croix, VI) – The VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) updates St .Croix residents on work being performed at the LBJ Pump Station this week.

The LBJ Pump Station will be taken off-line for approximately 16 hours on Thursday, Nov. 14th to allow for a scheduled installation of a new 12-inch bypass line. This line will facilitate the use of the auxiliary diesel pump during any down time that the main house pumps may experience. It is anticipated that this work will not negatively impact the area or the overall operations of the pump station.

The LBJ Pump Station Project includes the following: upgrade infrastructure through the installation or replacement of pumps, motors, motor controls, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, electrical and mechanical components, pump manifold, cranes, access covers, pump-around system, valves and flow meters,

For more information, contact the Office of Communications Management at (340) 715-9110 or (340) 690-4218, or you may contact Gwendolyn Kelly at (340) 244-1700.

 

 

Letter to EPA Administrator, Region 2, May 16th, 2010

 

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.

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                           Susan K. Wolterbeek, Esq.

                                           P.O. Box 306658

                                           St. Thomas, VI 00803-6658

                                           (340) 714-2233 susanremy@vipowernet.net

                                                                                            May 17, 2010

Judith Enck
Regional Administrator
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
New York, New York 10007-1866
Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov

                                                   Re: VIWMA violating CWA and Endangered Species Act

Dear Judith:

                      I am writing to follow up on our conversation of May 6.   As you know by their own testimony as reported in the VI Daily News, VIWMA dumped 72 million gallons of raw sewage over Long Reef, which flowed downstream by Christiansted Harbor and the Salt River National Park. VIWMA dumped more raw sewage again April 24-27 (another 4.8 million gallons?) just days before world Ironman athletes swam 1.24 miles in Christiansted Harbor on May 2, 2010.  As I have been asking for, repeatedly, those waters must be comprehensively tested, to determine whether the athletes are at risk and should be contacted.

 

Attached is a list of the diseases the athletes can get from swimming in raw sewage; cholera typhus and SARS can cause outbreaks and death, and many of the other diseases can debilitate the athletes severely, like enlarged heart, Hepatitis A,B, Giardia Lambia, Gastroenteritis, Polio virus and Poliomyelitis. The EPA and Dept. of Health must have a good, competent scientist test and  evaluate all of the area of the waters the athletes swam through, as I said on May 6th.

 

If this thorough water testing still has not been done, 15 days after the competition, there is the appearance of cover up or lack of concern for athletes who focus much of their energy on keeping their bodies in a state of perfect health and fitness. Further, this non-testing and nondisclosure risks disease outbreaks around the world. I suggest that the EPA and the Dept. of Health reach an agreement as to who will pay for this testing of the athletes, and who will be in charge of collating the data. Remember also that tourists and locals are at risk as well, for swimming in the polluted water and eating fish which is contaminated.  Shellfish can reinfect humans with concentrations of viruses that are 100 to 900 times greater than in the surrounding water. High concentrations of infectious viruses can cause disease in unsuspecting consumers; they need to be informed so that their doctors know what to test for.  There may be a time element involved in the collective people’s health which we are harming further by inaction.

 

In regard to the endangered species and the marine ecosystem, a thorough survey must be conducted in conjunction with NOAA to determine what damage has occurred due to the illegal dumping, and what plan can be implemented to help the damaged ecosystem, endangered species and their critical habitat.  The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has killed many turtles and other endangered species and their habitats. It is all the more important to start enforcing the laws to preserve and protect the turtles, coral and other endangered species in the USVI. Only 3% of the coral remains from 30 years ago. There are 3 coral recolonization projects going on now in St. Croix coastal waters-how are these being impacted by the endless dumpings of raw sewage? What about tourism, our only economy? If  people come down with Giardia Lambia, they are going to tell all the travel agencies, no one will book in the USVI, and goodbye income for  Virgin Islanders. This would be the direct effect of DPNR’s DEP’s EEP’s and the EPA’s allowing VIWMA to keep dumping, month after month, decade after decade.

 

Fines are meaningless to VIWMA, unless they are assessed personally. We must enforce federal criminal statutes, now, or the dumping will continue, and there will be no coral or turtles left. All of this was avoidable and shockingly mismanaged. VIWMA is not complying with even minimum federal reporting statutes. VIWMA refuses to give simple financial data to the public, again in violation of federal law,  and VIWMA has not issued an Annual Report since 2005.

 

VIWMA and its predecessor have illegally dumped raw sewage for 26 years. According to May Cornwall, she has worked there for 24 years. Apparently, if she had only repaired and replaced one or two of the Figtree Station pumps during the 1 ½ years they were broken, the 72 million gallon dumping would not have occurred.  Now, VIWMA appears to be in violation of 4 of the 5 specific March 18th court orders of Federal District Judge Gomez, as I specified in my email to you dated May 4, 2010, and as shown below. Thus, VIWMA has continually violated court orders for decades, is currently in violation, and needs to be replaced, now.

 

What do you think of this strategy? I submit a Motion for Joinder, Citizen’s Suit, TRO and Motion to Waive 60 Day Notice in light of  dire circumstances in an open case and ongoing Contempt. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and EPA submit a Motion for Contempt, and specifically assent to our Motion for Joinder. What follows below are some of the issues to be considered for the citizen’s suit.  In my pleadings I will focus on both the ESA as well as the CWA. I will suggest to NOAA to join as well, in the same motion. In this way, both the endangered species act violations and the CWA violations, as well as all parties are before the Federal District Court. Should there be additional plaintiffs due to health issues, they can be classed separately or jointly with the main enforcement matter.

 

In regard to action and relief requested, an Expert in Waste Management would be appointed by the District Court to evaluate current VIWMA systems, equipment and personnel, and make recommendations to the District Court as to immediate needs and a plan for operating henceforth. Then, a private company would be appointed take over VI Waste Management, implementing the plan, as soon as possible, with EPA oversight. The District Court Judge would have to demand the VI Government pay for these private services up front, or in a tight fee structure.

 

The various plaintiffs would consult with NOAA and the US Attorney’s Office and decide which defendants face federal civil and criminal charges, jointly and severally, which may also include those who have chosen not to enforce these federal laws, meaning the DEP, DPNR, EEP and the local EPA.

 

A team of scientists, including marine biologists from UVI,  the National Park Service and NOAA would evaluate the initial survey, do further investigation as appropriate, and prepare an action plan with specific recommendations to the District Court, which could then be implemented.

 

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 to stop VIWMA from dumping raw sewage over Long Reef.  I am asking to work with the EPA and NOAA in joining this suit and implementing the above plan of action. I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

 

Sincerely yours,

Susan

______________________________________________________________________

 

 

VIWMA  Should Be Held In Contempt of Court:

 

  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”.
  2.  “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.

 

Mr. Soderberg stated in his response of 4-30-10: “Regarding the pumping stations in St. Croix, we learned yesterday that two auxiliary diesel pumps at LBJ are currently not operational.” How long had they not been operational? Was the first auxiliary diesel pump operational by March 24, and the second auxiliary diesel pump operational by March 26th, or not?

 

  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 Mr. Soderberg’s 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 just 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.”

  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.

 

Mr. Soderberg stated 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 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 continue to dump a further 46.8 million gallons of raw sewage until mid-March, 2010, and again in April.

 

 

_______________________________________________________________________

 

WHAT’S IN RAW SEWAGE AND HOW IT CAN AFFECT YOUR HEALTH 

 

Ever since the summer of 1854, when Dr. John Snow first linked sewage-contaminated water at the Broad Street pump with London’s worst cholera epidemic, we.ve known that discharges of untreated sewage can cause disease and even death.

 

In 1894, .scientists at the Massachusetts State Board of Health’s Lawrence Experimental Station had noticed a strong relationship between the severity of [typhoid] and the source of a city’s water supply. Consequently, they explored the link and confirmed that [the disease] was transmitted by ingesting water that had been polluted with human waste containing the typhoid bacillus.

 

Pathogens

 

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. While, in a healthy population, most of the illnesses resulting from exposure to inadequately treated sewage are relatively minor (respiratory illness; ear, nose or throat irritation; gastroenteritis), they can become serious in more vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and people with suppressed immune systems (such as people with HIV, transplant recipients, and cancer patients). This group accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the U.S. population and is rapidly growing in number. Infants and children show a higher incidence of waterborne illnesses than the general population.

 

The elderly, too, are at greater risk people older than 74 have the highest mortality from waterborne or food-borne diarrheal illnesses. Adding insult to injury, some medications required to treat waterborne illnesses (such as metronidazole, which is used to treat amoebic dysentery) may be carcinogenic or have other toxic side effects.

 

While most of the waterborne pathogens enter the sewage system through human wastes, others may enter through animal wastes such as cat feces, which many urban pet owners flush down the toilet. Cat feces may contain the infectious protozoan Giardia lambia  or the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus. Conversely, inadequately treated human sewage can contaminate edible filter-feeding shellfish, such as clams, mussels, scallops, and oysters that eat plankton microscopic plants and animals by filtering them from water, which can reinfect humans with concentrations of viruses that are 100 to 900 times greater than in the surrounding water. High concentrations of infectious viruses can cause disease in unsuspecting consumers.

 

Nationally, at least 100 outbreaks of hepatitis and viral gastroenteritis have been associated with sewage-contaminated shellfish. Between 1973 and 1994, 65 cases of cholera were reported, primarily associated with consumption of raw oysters or undercooked crabs or shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences and CDC suggest that most seafood-associated illnesses are related to seafood contaminated with untreated or inadequately treated sewage.

 

The Vibrio bacterium, a sewage related pathogen, is a growing problem in Florida, where almost 90 percent of fatal cases of V. vulnificus septicemia are due to consumption of raw Gulf Coast oysters. Other routes of exposure to pathogens in raw or inadequately treated sewage from overflows include, but are not limited to, direct contact with sewage that has backed up into homes, schools, institutions, and playgrounds; from exposure to contaminated drinking water or groundwater; or from diving, swimming, kayaking, canoeing or other activities in recreational waters.  Recreational exposure usually occurs through ingestion, but also can occur through the eyes, ears, nose, anus, skin, or genitourinary tract.

 

For example, 21 police scuba divers became ill after training in sewage-contaminated waters in New York City in 1982.

 

In a 1998 study, one-third of reported gastroenteritis cases and two-thirds of ear infections were associated with swimming in sewage-contaminated marine waters. The amount of human illness after exposure to marine water appears to be increasing, and there is evidence that the rate of infection is proportional to both the amount of time swimmers are exposed and the levels of pollution in the waters where they swim.

 

Table 1 – Waterborne Pathogens, Associated Illnesses, and the Wastes They.re Found In 

 

Pathogenic Agent

Associated Illnesses

Wastes

Bacteria:    
Campylobacter jejuni Gastroenteritis/death from Guillain-Barré syndrome Human/animal feces 
E. coli (pathogenic or enterovirulent strains) Gastroenteritis/E. coli O157:H7, adults: death from thrombocytopenia; children: death from kidney failure                         Domestic sewage 
Leptospira Leptospirosis Animal urine
Salmonella typhi Typhoid fever/reactive arthritis from certain strains Domestic sewage 
Other salmonella species Various enteric fevers (often called paratyphoid), Domestic sewage 
gastroenteritis, septicemia (generalized infections in which organisms multiply in the bloodstream) Domestic sewage, animal wastes, food compost, 
Shigella dysenteriae and other species Bacillary dysentery  Human feces and domestic sewage
Vibrio cholera Cholera – death                                                            / shellfish, saltwater Yersinia spp. Acute gastroenteritis (including diarrhea, abdominal pain)/reactive arthritis Water, milk, mammalian alimentary canal Domestic sewage,
Viruses:    
Adenovirus Respiratory and gastrointestinal infections    Domestic sewage
Astrovirus Gastroenteritis Domestic sewage
Calicivirus Gastroenteritis Domestic sewage
Coxsackievirus (some strains) Various, including severe respiratory diseases, fevers, rashes, paralysis, aseptic meningitis, myocarditis Domestic sewage
Echovirus Various, similar to Coxsackievirus (evidence is not definitive except in experimental animals) Domestic sewage
Hepatitis A Infectious hepatitis (liver malfunction); also may affect kidneys and spleen   Domestic sewage
Norwalk and Norwalk-likeviruses Gastroenteritis Domestic sewage
Poliovirus Poliomyelitis Domestic sewage
Reovirus Respiratory infections, gastroenteritis Domestic sewage
Rotavirus Gastroenteritis   Domestic sewage

 

Protozoa:    
Balantidium coli Dysentery, intestinal ulcers (especially swine)  Human/animal feces
Cryptosporidium parvum Gastroenteritis/death in immuno-compromised host  Human/animal feces
Cyclospora cayetanensis Gastroenteritis    Human feces
Dientamoeba fragilis Mild diarrhea Human feces
Entamoeba histolytica Amoebic dysentery, infections of other organs   Human/animal feces, domestic sewage
Giardia lambia Giardiasis, diarrhea, abdominal cramps/failure to thrive,severe hypothyroidism, lactose intolerance, chronic joint pain Human feces
Isospora belli and Isosporahominus Intestinal parasites, gastrointestinal infection Toxoplasma gondii Newborn syndrome, hearing and visual loss, mentalretardation, diarrhea/dementia and/or seizures   Cat feces
Helminths (worms):    
Digenetic trematodes (flukes)    
Schistosoma haematobium Schistsomiasis Human feces
Schistosoma japanicum Schistsomiasis Human feces
Schistosoma mansoni Schistsomiasis    Human feces
Echinostoma s pp. Diarrhea Animal feces
Faxciola hepatica Liver necrosis and cirrhosis Animal feces
Paragonimus westermani Paragonimiasis Animal feces and crustaceans
Clonorchis sinensis Bile duct erosion Human feces, raw fish
Heterophyes heterophyes Diarrhea and myocarditis Human feces, raw fish

 

Cestodes (tapeworms)    
Diphyllobothrium latum Diarrhea and anemia                                         Human feces, raw fish
Taeniarhynchus saginatus Dizziness, nausea, pain, and inappetence      Human feces, raw beef
Taenia solium Dizziness, nausea, pain, inappetence, cysticercosis          Human feces, raw pork 
Echinococcus granulosus Hydatidosis   Dog, other animal feces
Hymenolepis nana Dizziness, nausea, pain, and inappetence                 Human feces 
Nematodes (roundworms)    
Trichuris trichiura Asymptomatic to chronic hemorrhage                       Human feces
Strongyloides stercoralis Strongyloidiasis Human feces
Necator americanus Iron-deficiency anemia and protein deficiency        Human feces
Ancylostoma duodenale Iron-deficiency anemia and protein deficiency        Human feces
Ascaris lumbricoides Ascariasis Human, pig, and other animal feces

 

Emerging and Reemerging Infections

 

New and amazing developments in technology seem to pop up by the minute in our 21stcentury world, from chopsticks impregnated with antibacterials to goats engineered to produce spider silk proteins in their milk. Nature herself is a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week technology wizard, prodigiously engineering new .products. ranging from purple frogs to lethal viruses such as HIV and SARS. Where new meets old, the consequences can be deadly. For example, a poorly maintained sewage collection system is implicated as a factor leading to the initial spread of SARS at the Amoy Gardens residential complex in Hong Kong. Local health officials concluded that people infected with SARS .excrete coronavirus in their stools, where it could survive for longer periods than on ordinary surfaces.

 

 Escherichia coli O157:H7, another emerging infectious organism, is mainly a foodborne pathogen, but has been transmitted through sewage-contaminated drinking water. An estimated 73,000 cases of infection and 61 deaths occur in the United States each year. Infection often leads to bloody diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure.

 

Over the past 25 years, Cryptosporidium has emerged as one of the most common causes of drinking and recreational waterborne diseases in humans in the United States. In the spring of 1993 in Milwaukee, municipal drinking water that was within bacterial standards was contaminated with Cryptosporidium.

 

An estimated 400,000 people became ill and the disease contributed to the deaths of some AIDS patients (see the Milwaukee, Wisconsin case study in Chapter 4). The Cryptosporidium parvum parasite is found in every region of the country and throughout the world. C. parvum .spores,. called oocysts, can persist outside the body for substantially longer periods of time than other pathogens. Worse still, the oocysts are resistant to traditional types of drinking water treatment, including chlorination and ozonation.

 

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 EPA 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.

 

 

9-27-2001 Federal Court Order Against the VI Government; and Still, Nothing is Done

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

DIVISION OF ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN

___________________________________

)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA           )

Plaintiff,                         ) Civ. No. 1984-104

v.                                 )

GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS,  )

Defendant.                         )

___________________________________)

 

ATTORNEYS:

Donald G. Frankel, Esq.

U.S. Department of Justice

Washington, D.C.

For the plaintiff,

 

Michael Law, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

St. Croix, U.S.V.I.

For the defendant.

 

ORDER

More than seventeen years ago, on March 21, 1984, the Environmental Protection Agency filed this action on behalf of the United States in an effort to remedy the many serious violations of the Clean Water Act being committed by the Government of the Virgin Islands.

 

WHEREAS, in 1985, the parties entered into a consent decree, which was thereafter and immediately ignored for many years by the Government of the Virgin Islands, and

WHEREAS, in 1991 the United States moved this Court for enforcement of the consent decree, and

WHEREAS, on January 21, 1996, more than five and one-half years ago and after several court proceedings, the Court approved and entered an Amended Consent Decree intended to avoid “prolonged litigation and to further the public interest,” signed by the Governor of the Virgin Islands, as chief executive of the Government of the Virgin Islands, the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands, and the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works of the Virgin Islands, and

WHEREAS, despite the many assurances by the Government of the Virgin Islands that it would be able to meet the schedule and otherwise comply with the provisions it had negotiated with the United States and memorialized in the Amended Consent Decree, and despite the many accommodations extended by the United States and this Court, the Government of the Virgin Islands failed to prevent the nearly complete and total breakdown of the St. Croix waste water treatment facilities by the end of 1999, which resulted in millions upon millions of gallons of raw sewage being pumped directly into the Caribbean Sea, and

WHEREAS, on February 12, 2000, after emergency hearings requested by the United States, the Court entered an order incorporating the deadlines by which the Government of the Virgin Islands assured the Court it could repair and make operational the nearly defunct St. Croix waste water treatment facilities, and

WHEREAS, after some repairs were successfully completed, the Court entered a new order on September 6, 2000, setting revised deadlines to complete the repairs ordered on February 12, 2000,

and

WHEREAS, after September 6, 2000, the Government of the Virgin Islands continued to exhibit an infuriating unwillingnessand/or inability to comply with the Court’s orders or to make the St. Croix Waste Water Treatment Plant operational, and in particular, to select a contract manager to operate and maintain the Waste Water Treatment Plant as ordered, and 

WHEREAS, on October 26, 2000, the Court summoned various government officials to appear before it and explain why the Government of the Virgin Islands had not yet complied with the Amended Consent Decree and many of this Court’s subsequent  orders, and

WHEREAS, in the face of threatened sanctions from the Court, the Government of the Virgin Islands made a comparatively impressive showing at the October 26th hearing of its purported financial and managerial commitment to repair and maintain the St. Croix sewage treatment facilities, and

WHEREAS, as a result of that hearing, the Court, being somewhat satisfied with the Government of the Virgin Islands’  promises and pronouncements, entered an order on December 13, 2000, setting new deadlines for the Government of the Virgin Islands to bring the sewage treatment facilities on St. Croix into compliance and reducing the period for which the Government of the Virgin Islands is required to submit status reports from weekly to monthly,1 and

WHEREAS, despite the passage of nearly one year since the last hearing in October 2000, the Government of the Virgin Islands continues brazenly to ignore this Court’s orders, and, as a result, it appears that the Government of the Virgin Islands has allowed various St. Croix facilities once again to fall into a state of dismal disrepair and desuetude, and

WHEREAS, the Government of the Virgin Islands cannot even be bothered to submit monthly reports to the Court as ordered on December 14, 2000, and

WHEREAS, the utter contempt that the Government of the Virgin Islands has persistently shown to its obligations under the Amended Consent Decree and to this Court exhausted the Court’s patience, and

WHEREAS, the chief executive officer of the Government of the 1 The Memorandum accompanying the December 13th Order set forth at length the Court’s emerging hopes, in spite of abiding frustration, that the Government of the Virgin Islands had entered into a new phase of long-term commitment to repairing its deteriorating waste water treatment facilities. This Memorandum is available on the District Court website at

http://www.vid.uscourts.gov.

Virgin Islands, Governor W. Turnbull, recently submitted two supplemental appropriation bills to the Legislature that would authorize the Government of the Virgin Islands to spend an unexpected $100 million income tax “windfall,” and

WHEREAS, one of the Governor’s appropriation bills contained no appropriation specifically related to sewage, while the other contained an appropriation of a mere $250,000 “for the maintenance of the territorial sewage system,” an amount unlikely to fund the comprehensive repair and maintenance necessary to bring the Government of the Virgin Islands into compliance with the Amended Consent Decree, this Court’s orders, and relevant federal law, and

WHEREAS, although the Legislature eventually appropriated the above-mentioned $250,000 in Act No. 6427 § 1(m),2 it appears that no amount of the “windfall” has been requested by the Governor or appropriated by the legislature to bring the Government of the Virgin Islands into compliance with the requirements of the Amended Consent Decree and this Court’s orders, and

WHEREAS, the constant refrain of the Government of the Virgin Island’s Governor Turnbull also recommended the appropriation of $1,000,000 to fund the start-up and operating costs associated with the establishment of a “Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority.” The Legislature appropriated, but reduced the amount to $600,000 for this purpose. See Act No. 6427 § 73(b).  Islands has been that it lacks the money to do what it agreed to do in the initial and amended consent decrees, or to comply with various aspects of this Court’s recent orders, and

WHEREAS, it thus appears that the Government of the Virgin Islands has failed to comply with the terms of the Amended Consent Decree and many aspects of the Court’s orders of February 12, 2000, September 6, 2000, and December 13, 2000, despite its promises, representations, and the recent $100 million “windfall,” and

WHEREAS, the recent reports on St. Thomas of raw sewage being pumped into the sea, which forced the closing of a public beach, as well as reports of the lack of operational personnel at the new St. John facilities, give fresh evidence that the Government of the Virgin Islands has generally failed to comply with the Amended Consent Decree as a whole,

It is hereby ORDERED that the Government of the Virgin Islands shall appear before the undersigned on Thursday, October 18, 2000, at 9:30 a.m. in the St. Thomas Division of the District Court to show cause why it should not be held in contempt for its continued and flagrant failure to comply with the Amended Consent Decree and this Court’s orders. The Government of the Virgin Islands shall bring with it those persons responsible for and familiar with the status of the its compliance, including, but not limited to, Governor Charles W. Turnbull, Commissioner Wayne Callwood, Department of Public Works, Mr. Joseph Bradford, Utilities Director, Department of Public Works, St. Croix, Mr. Ira Mills, Director of the Virgin Islands Office of Management and Budget, and a government representative familiar with the status the contract negotiations for the maintenance of the St. Croix waste water treatment plant.

It is further ORDERED that the Government of the Virgin Islands and the United States each shall file with the Court by October 10, 2001,a detailed report on the compliance of the Government of the Virgin Islands with the specific repair and reporting deadlines set forth in the Court’s orders of February 12, 2000, September 6, 2000, and December 13, 2000. Additionally, in light of the recent reports relating to St. Thomas and St. John, each party shall submit a separate report on the current status of the compliance of the Government of the Virgin Islands with the Amended Consent Decree as a whole.

It is further ORDERED that the Government of the Virgin Islands and the United States each shall file with the Court by October 10, 2001 the dollar amount required to bring the Government of the Virgin Islands into compliance with the Amended Consent Decree and this Court’s orders.

ENTERED this 27th day of September, 2001.

FOR THE COURT:

________/s/___________

Thomas K. Moore

District Judge

 

ATTEST:

WILFREDO F. MORALES

Clerk of the Court

By:_________________________

Deputy Clerk

 Copies to:

 Honorable Geoffrey W. Barnard

AUSA Joycelyn Hewlett, Esq.

St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

 

Donald G. Frankel, Esq.

U.S. Dept. of Justice

VIA FACSIMILE

(617) 450-0448

 

Iver A. Stridiron

Attorney General

VIA FACSIMILE

774-9710

 

Michael Law, Esq.

Asst. Attorney General

St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

VIA FACSIMILE

774-9710

 

Dr. Raphael Rios

Court Monitor

VIA FACSIMILE

(787)763-9597

 

Mrs. Jackson

Mrs. Trotman

Mrs. Jeffries

Jennifer N. Coffin, Esq

Endangered Species Act Federal MOU

INFORMATION: Federal Interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 11/8/94
Director, Office of Environment and Planning HEP-42
Regional Administrators
Federal Lands Highway Program Administrator

On September 28, the Administrator signed a new interagency MOU on implementation of the ESA, copy attached. The MOU emphasizes interagency coordination and advance planning to reduce conflicts between programs of different government agencies and better manage impacts to endangered species and their habitats. In addition to FHWA, the MOU was signed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Mines, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Park Service, Minerals Management Service, Department of Defense, Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Coast Guard, Federal Aviation Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The MOU establishes, in principal, regional interagency working groups that will coordinate agency actions to reduce conflicts over endangered species and create opportunities for conserving and recovering species that are listed or proposed for listing as endangered or threatened. The regional working groups will involve the public, States, Indian Tribal governments, and local governments as appropriate. Examples of such groups include the Desert Tortoise Group, which involves personnel from the FWS, BLM, and State agencies in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah; and the PACFish Group, which involves the Forest Service, BLM, and NMFS in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and northern California in an effort to develop long-range strategies to restore important aquatic habitat on Federal lands in the above States.

The MOU also establishes a national working group which will identify the geographic regions of the United States and its territories that will be used as the basis for organizing the regional interagency work groups, identify ways to improve the conservation of species listed under the ESA, perform an annual review of the previous year’s progress and activities, and establish a program of work for subsequent fiscal years. The national working group will also identify and try to resolve national issues associated with interagency consultations undertaken pursuant to Section 7(a)(2).

The Environmental Quality Branch of the Office of Environment and Planning will represent FHWA on the national working group, and will provide field offices with up-to-date information concerning recommendations and activities of the national working group, as well as that concerning specific regional groups. The FHWA field offices, both regions and divisions, are encouraged to participate in early planning and coordination activities through the regional groups to maximize the two-way exchange of information required for planning and coordination concerning endangered species management. Please forward this memorandum to the division offices

and please call Mr. Paul Garrett of my staff at (202) 366-2067 if you need further information.

Kevin E. Heanue

 

All of the USVI Beaches are Impaired or Threatened

EPA Approves U.S. Virgin Islands’ List of Waters Facing Pollution Threats; New Pollutants Included for Christiansted Harbor, the Offshore Southgate Subwatershed and Mangrove Lagoon

Release date: 10/28/2010

Contact Information: John Senn, (212) 637-3667, senn.john@epa.gov

(St. Croix, USVI) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the 2010 list of waters in the U.S. Virgin Islands that are considered either impaired or threatened by pollution. An impaired water body is one that does not meet water quality standards even after pollution controls have been put in place. A threatened water body is one that is expected to be impaired within two years. The list helps to set priorities for addressing current water pollution threats. The Clean Water Act requires states to assess the quality of their waters and to report their findings every two years to EPA. The list is compiled by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) and is a valuable tool for reaching the Clean Water Act goal of “fishable and swimmable” waters for the entire territory.

“The protection and restoration of waters throughout the Virgin Islands are critical to people’s health and the economy of the Virgin Islands,” said Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “The list of impaired and threatened waters in the Virgin Islands helps governments, businesses and concerned citizens create the best plans for eliminating the pollution that threatens water quality.”

The list specifically includes impaired waters for which the development of a total maximum daily load (TMDL), a budget for water pollution, is necessary. TMDLs define the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards. They are developed by states and approved by EPA once the Agency determines that the TMDL will allow the water body to achieve water quality standards.

The Virgin Islands and state governments throughout the U.S. designate the use of local waters for a range of activities including drinking water, swimming and recreation, and fishing. The 2010 list of impaired and threatened waters in the Virgin Islands identifies 204 instances in which a pollutant is causing an impairment of a water body that keeps it from supporting its designated use. The most common cause of the pollution problems are cloudiness in the water (turbidity), dissolved oxygen and bacteria.

The list also notes the sources of water pollutants. The most common sources include erosion and sedimentation; discharges from boats at marinas; and highway, road and bridge runoff. A pollutant may come from more than one source.

U.S. Virgin Islands waters are assessed every two years for the presence of pollutants. In 2010, pollutants that had not previously been present in Christiansted Harbor, the Offshore Southgate Subwatershed, Mangrove Lagoon and other waters were identified in these waters. EPA will continue to build partnerships throughout the territory to ensure that impaired waters receive proper attention.

The complete list of impaired waters is available at: http://www.epa.gov/region02/water/waterbodies.

[Please note that there were over 200 beaches in the USVI which were classified by the EPA as “impaired” in 2010, (based on data from 2007)

DPNR’s water tests taken during 2008 and 2009 were rejected by the EPA, which should have been immediately retaken in 2010. See the DPNR report attached.

Nonetheless, with only data from 2007, showing 204 of our beaches as being “Impaired” the EPA did not do any update, as required, even in 2011 or 2012, despite all the documented hundreds of millions of gallons of extra dumping in 2010-2011.

The EPA has finally started collecting data in September, 2013. Those tests, taken 7 years after the 204 impaired beaches, have not been shared with the people who swim in those waters].

Staphylococci Infections are an Issue

This is a picture of someone’s right thigh with an incredible Staph Infection.

Staph Infection

 

 

 

 

 

 

This happened in the US Virgin Islands and it can happen to you.

Stench of Government Indifference – DailyNews September 2012

11-7-12 GreenerVI.org v. WAPA and VIWMA 001

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

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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

 

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