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DPNR is Not Testing our Coastal Waters; it’s Unbelievable, but true

 

Here is an excerpt from the 2010 USVI Integrated Water Quality Monitoring & Assessment.  I know its 2013 and we are not sure if DPNR has done anything for 2012 yet.  DPNR is supposed to be performing water quality monitoring for both the EPA and NOAA.  Why has the EPA and NOAA failed to demand water quality testing in the Virgin Islands?

 

To get the full document, so you can read it yourself, here is the link from GreenerVI.  Go to page 78 for the summary.  Please be patient, it is a large PDF document and takes a while to load.

 

PLEASE NOTE: THE SALT RIVER BAY NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK IS ALSO CLASS A- IS IT NOT? YET IT IS BEING BADLY AFFECTED BY THE LBJ/FIGTREE BYPASSES. SANDY POINT AND POINT UDALL ARE ALSO UNDER CLASS A, ARE THEY NOT?

 

PLEASE NOTE: If you scan down and at least review the bolded areas starting on page 78,  this report is illuminating.  Susan

 

 

The 2010 USVI Integrated Water Quality Monitoring & Assessment

Report intends to satisfy the USVI requirements of the Federal Clean

Water Act Sections 305(b) and 303(d).

 

Submitted by:

Department of Planning &Natural Resources

Division of Environmental Protection

St. Croix (340) 773-1082

St. Thomas (340) 774-3320

 

Page 78-

 

4. Toxics/biological monitoring

 

No monitoring for toxics or biological effects is conducted in the Virgin Islands for lack of baseline standards for Virgin Islands conditions. According to the Virgin Islands multi-year monitoring strategy, DPNR will explore options for implementing a biological component of the Ambient Monitoring Program. This may include developing a partnership with NOAA or another agency with similar monitoring objectives.

 

5. Fish tissue, sediment, shellfish monitoring:

 

The Virgin Islands Water Pollution Control program does not include toxic chemicals or biological monitoring. The program also does not monitor fish tissue, sediment or shellfish for toxicity. A background analysis of ambient water quality has not yet been performed to support the adoption of criteria for toxic chemicals (1996 VI 305(b)).

 

6. Quality assurance/quality control program

 

The US Virgin Islands DPNR-DEP Quality Assurance (QA) Program is committed to assuring and improving the quality of all environmental measurements performed by and for the Department. The goal of the QA program is for the acquisition of reliable and defensible environmental data. It is the policy of DPNR that adequate QA activities are conducted within the agency to ensure that all environmental data generated and processed be scientifically valid, of known precision and accuracy, of acceptable completeness, representative, comparability and where appropriate, legally defensible.

During Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009 QA activities such as program technical audits, file audits, revision of the Quality Assurance Management Plan, Management System Reviews, review of program and contractual Quality Assurance Project Plans, review of all program Standard Operating Procedures, and Laboratory Certifications were performed. DPNR has a full-time QA/QC Officer who also acts the Laboratory Certification Officer for the Department.

 

7. Volunteer monitoring

 

DPNR had no monitoring volunteers during the reporting period. Volunteer monitoring, however, is being planned for implementation in future water quality monitoring program activities.

 

8. Program evaluation

 

• A background analysis of ambient water quality is needed to support the adoption of specific criteria for toxic pollutants (1998 305(b) Report). As part of the 2004 US Virgin Islands Water Quality Standards revision, the national recommended criteria were adopted;

 

• New equipment and staff training is needed to assess water quality for the development of toxic and biological criteria (1998 305(b) Report);

• Revisions of the existing Local Water Pollution Control Act and regulation are needed to enhance the program’s ability to enforce its laws and statutes;

 

2010 USVI Integrated Report

Page 79 of 165

 

• Revisions to the Water Quality Standards and criteria to include numeric values instead of narrative description of desired water quality;

 

• Stormwater regulations are being implemented within the TPDES permitting program.

 

B. Assessment Methodology

 

Purpose:

 

The Clean Water Act requires each state, territory and tribe to conduct water quality surveys to determine if its waters are healthy and have sufficient quality to meet their designated uses and attain water quality standards. A report on this water quality assessment is submitted every two years to US Environmental Protection Agency – Region 2. The report incorporates physical, chemical, and microbiological data from the StoRet database, habitat assessments, and beach monitoring data (fish kills/advisories, oil spills, beach closings, etc.). Use of data is subject to availability.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency encourages states, territories and tribes to adopt the Integrated Reporting format which blends elements of the 305(b) Water Quality Assessment Report and the 303(d) Impaired Waterbody List. The United States Virgin Islands uses this format to more accurately and completely assess our waterbodies.

 

Complete assessments include:

 

Identification of waterbody type.

 

All waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands shall meet generally accepted aesthetic qualifications and shall be capable of supporting diversified aquatic life.

 

“Waters” of the U.S. Virgin Islands shall be defined, as follows, as in by Title 12, Chapter 7, Section I82(f) of the Virgin Islands Code; all harbors, streams, lakes, ponds, impounding reservoirs, marshes, water-courses, water-ways, wells, springs,

irrigation systems, drainage systems and all other bodies or accumulations of water, surface and underground, natural or artificial, public or private, situated wholly or partly within or bordering upon the United States Virgin Islands, including the territorial seas, contiguous zones, and oceans.

 

These “waters” are included in the U.S. Virgin Islands 2010 Integrated Report. All available groundwater data will be reviewed for possible inclusion in the report and Division of Environmental Protection’s Groundwater Program will provide groundwater discussion in the 2010 Integrated Report. At the very least, the Integrated Report should include an overview of groundwater and wetlands resources.

 

Identification of waterbody classification and designated use.

 

According to the US Virgin Islands water quality standards, the waters of the Virgin Islands exist in one of three classes: A, B and C. The following describes the geographical extent of the three waterbody classes, the associated designated uses, and the applicable water quality standards.

 

2010 USVI Integrated Report

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Class “A” Waters

 

Best usage of waters: Preservation of natural phenomena requiring special conditions, such as the Natural Barrier Reef at Buck Island, St. Croix and the Under Water Trail at Trunk Bay, St. John. These are outstanding natural resource waters that cannot be altered except towards natural conditions. No new or increased dischargers shall be permitted.

 

Quality criteria: Existing natural conditions shall not be changed. The biological condition shall be similar or equivalent to reference condition for biological integrity. In no case shall Class B water quality standards be exceeded.

 

 

(1)  Within 0.5 miles of the boundaries of Buck Island’s Natural Barrier Reef, St. Croix.

(2)   Trunk Bay, St. John.

 

Class “B” Waters.

 

Best usage of waters: For maintenance and propagation of desirable species of aquatic life (including threatened, endangered species listed pursuant to section 4 of the federal

Endangered Species Act and threatened, endangered and indigenous species listed pursuant Title 12, Chapter 2 of the Virgin Islands Code) and for primary contact recreation (swimming, water skiing, etc.). This Class allows minimal changes in structure of the biotic community and minimal changes in ecosystem function. Virtually all native taxa are maintained with some changes in biomass and/or abundance; ecosystem functions are fully maintained within the range of natural variability.

 

(1)  All other waters not classified as Class “A” or Class “C”.

 

(A)  Those Class “B” waters not covered by color and turbidity criteria in section 186-3(b)(11) of this chapter include:

 

(i) St. Thomas waters-Mandahl Bay (Marina), Vessup Bay, Water Bay, Benner Bay,

and the Mangrove Lagoon.

 

2010 USVI Integrated Report

Page 82 of 165

 

(ii) St. Croix waters-Carlton Beach, Good Hope Beach, Salt River Lagoon (Marina),

Salt River Lagoon (Sugar Bay), Estate Anguilla Beach, Buccaneer Beach, Tamarind

Reef Lagoon, Green Cay Beach and Enfield Green Beach.

 

(iii) All non-marine waters defined as all Virgin Islands waters shoreward of the mean

high-tide line.

 

(B)  All other Class “B” waters are covered by the color and turbidity criteria in section 186-3(b)(11)(B) of this subchapter.

 

 

 

Class “C” Waters

 

Best usage of waters: For maintenance and propagation of desirable species of aquatic life (including threatened and endangered species listed pursuant to section 4 of the federal Endangered Species Act and threatened, endangered and indigenous species listed pursuant Title 12, Chapter 2 of the Virgin Islands Code) and for primary contact recreation (swimming, water skiing, etc.). This Class allows for evident changes in structure of the biotic community and minimal changes in ecosystem function. Evident changes in structure due to loss of some rare native taxa; shifts in relative abundance of taxa (community structure) are allowed but sensitive-ubiquitous taxa remain common and abundant; ecosystem functions are fully maintained through redundant attributes of the system.

 

(1)  St. Thomas:

 

(A)St. Thomas Harbor beginning at Rupert Rock and extending to Haulover Cut.

 

(B) Crown Bay enclosed by a line from Hassel Island at Haulover Cut to Regis Point

at West Gregerie Channel.

 

(C)Krum Bay.

 

(2)  St. Croix:

 

(A) Christiansted Harbor from Fort Louise Augusta to Golden Rock, along the

waterfront and seaward to include the navigational channels and mooring areas.

 

(B) Frederiksted Harbor from La Grange to Fisher Street and seaward to the end of the

Frederiksted Pier.

 

(C)Hess Oil Virgin Islands Harbor (alternatively named HOVENSA Harbor).

 

(D) Martin-Marietta Alumina Harbor (alternatively named Port Alucroix or St. Croix

Renaissance Group Harbor).

 

(3)  St. John:

 

(A)Enighed Pond Bay

 

 

Evaluation of Internal Data

 

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 no reliance on any DO, pH, turbidity and temperature data reported from the field.

 

Therefore, DPNR were required to use only the beach monitoring data, data received during the 2010 Integrated Report data solicitation process announced on October 16, 2009, and analytical data for bacteria, TSS, and turbidity to conduct assessments for the 2010 Integrated Report.

 

DPNR evaluates all internal monitoring data to determine if the Data Quality Objectives outlined in the USVI Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Program Quality Assurance Project Plan are met. Once the data is determined to meet the required objectives the data is used to conduct the assessments for the reporting cycle.

 

The following agencies were contacted to request data during the Data Solicitation Period. The agencies were asked to submit all relative monitoring data for the monitoring period with the associated Quality Assurance Project Plan:

 

Kofi Boateng Associate State Director UVI-CES

Jeffrey Potent – USEPA Region 2

Rafe Boulon – National Park Service

Barbara S.P. Moore Director NOAA/National Undersea Research Program

Eric Hawk Section 7 Coordinator National Marine Fisheries Service

Richard Nemeth, Ph.D. Director UVI-CMES

Pedro Diaz – USGS/GSA Center

Edwin Muniz Supervisor USFW/PR Field Office

 

Once received the QAPP and data would be evaluated to determine if DPNR’s Data Quality Objectives were met. If the data is determined to be acceptable then the data would be used in the reporting cycle’s assessments. A rationale for any decision to not use any existing and readily available data and information would also be included in the Integrated Report. DPNR, however, did not receive data from external sources during the data solicitation period for the FY2008 and 2009 reporting cycle. 

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