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dumping raw sewage

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

DISTRICT COURT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

DIVISION OF ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Plaintiff

CIVIL No.   1984-104

GOVERNMENT of the    VIRGIN ISLANDS

Defendant

 

AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO INTERVENE

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

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

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

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

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

territorial waters.

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

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

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

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

Exhibit 2.

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

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

and 23-25.

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

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

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

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

are missing entirely.

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

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

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

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

count of raw sewage bypass days may be significantly higher.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

violation of the TPDES Permit and the Clean Water Act.

VIWMA HAS REFUSED TO GIVE REQUIRED PUBLIC NOTICE OF SEWAGE BYPASSES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notices as mandated in the TPDES Permit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily News for those dates.

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

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

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

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

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

and easy to overlook.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

were to be properly maintained and kept operational.

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

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

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

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

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

VIWMA VIOLATED THE COURT ORDER ON CANCRYN PUMP STATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

Director of VIWMA is quoted, stating:

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

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

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

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

[Exhibit 22].

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

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

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

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

VIWMA VIOLATED THE COURT ORDER ON AUXILIARY PUMPS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary of Non-Compliance Reports, Exhibit 2.

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

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

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

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

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

effluent data shall be available to the public.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. Code §552.

THE EPA GROSSLY UNDERSTATED RAW SEWAGE BYPASSES TO THE COURT

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

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

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

bypasses.

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

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

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

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

Barren Spot was bypassing during Hurricane Earl.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1,2, 17, 18].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

information and belief.

Respectfully submitted,

_______________________

Susan K. Wolterbeek, Pro Se

PO Box 306658

St. Thomas, VI 00803

(340) 714-2233

susan@GreenerVI.org

Territory of the US Virgin Islands

District of St. Thomas and St. John

 

This is What the Citizen’s Lawsuit is About

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Pumping over the Reef”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

EPA Complicit – Grossly Understating Raw Sewage Dumping

This is what we got in response from the EPA:

From: Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov [mailto:Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov]
Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2011 8:36 PM
To: Susan Wolterbeek
Subject: Re: EPA has allowed at VIWMA to continue dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into our territorial waters, despite court order and federal laws designed to protect us

Thanks. We will get back to you in about 2 weeks
Sent by EPA Wireless E-Mail Services

The following is an emailed letter sent to the EPA, NOAA,  The Center For Biological Diversity and the VI Daily News

Susan K. Wolterbeek
President, GreenerVI.org
P.O. Box 306658
St. Thomas, VI 00803-6658

April 29, 2011

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

Administrator Enck:
We Virgin Islanders have a legal right to not have our Caribbean coastal waters filled with raw sewage. Don’t you agree? Although I met with you last May about this, and have written to you several times imploring the EPA to stop allowing millions of gallons of raw sewage to be dumped into our coastal waters, your agency still has not regulated VIWMA.

In the past year since the Court Order of 3/18/10, VIWMA has dumped raw sewage for at least 87 days according to the records which came from your office, and newspaper articles. Last year the rate testified to and reported in the VI Daily News was that raw sewage was pumped out at 1.2 million gallons per day.

If the rate is the same, that means since the 3/18/10 Court Order, 104 million gallons of raw sewage were dumped where people swim and fish, dive and snorkel, where Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles eat, and where Staghorn and Elkhorn Coral live. We humans and these Endangered Species are protected by federal laws which your agency is sworn to uphold.

Nevertheless, within weeks VIWMA had violated the Court Orders, as I kept telling you, yet the dumpings continued, and your agency would not and will not file for Contempt, Receivership, Sanctions, or even alert NOAA that your agency’s actions, each of those bypasses, have occurred, each of which are separate violations of the Endangered Species Act.

I formally requested of your office, through the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), the start and stop dates and rate of flow of every bypass of raw sewage in the Territory since 1/1/10. Your office supplied me with many Non-Compliance Reports, but there are significant gaps. The 50 million gallons of raw sewage pumped over Long Reef January-March last year is not reflected in the Non-Compliance Reports for that time period, except for 2 reports, of LBJ and Barren Spot Pump Stations, which simply say “ONGOING BYPASS”.

There have been 150 Non-Compliance Reports, since the 3/18/10 Court Order, and a few of those said “ONGOING BYPASS”, too, which itself is not compliant with federal law or the TPDES Permit, and without start and stop dates, the bypasses may have continued for days, weeks, months, or they are still ongoing, so the actual days of bypass since the 3/18/10 Court Order may be significantly higher than 87. Further, there was a newspaper article about a 10 day bypass of raw sewage over Long Reef April 24-May 4, 2010, right when the Ironman Tri-athletes were swimming in the affected waters, yet there are no Non-Compliance Reports furnished for those dates. How many other major bypasses did not get written into Non-Compliance Reports?

Because the Non-Compliance Reports are woefully incomplete, I have repeatedly renewed my FOIA Request for the start and stop dates and rate of flow from your office so that I may give the Federal District Court accurate figures, yet your FIOA Officer will not release this information, without explanation, in violation of 5 U.S.C. § 552 (6)(A)(i).

In the EPA’s Final Submission, filed with the Federal District Court on 4/11/11, instead of informing the Court about this horrific 87 days bypassing of 104 million gallons of raw sewage which your agency has allowed to continue, your attorneys alluded to some small bypasses and specifically mentioned a Barren Spot 3 day bypass to the judge, [which was in truth March 13-23, 2011, 10 days, by your own records]. The EPA further failed to tell the Court about VIWMA’s continued Contempt of Court Orders by refusing to warn the public with required Public Notices and posting signs on affected beaches. What thought or care is being given to those most at risk-the elderly, pregnant women, people with immune deficiencies, and what of the turtles and coral which live in those waters?

Since the EPA will not give the Court this vital information of VIWMA’s continued willful violation of federal laws and contempt of Court Orders, it falls to us citizens to do the work. We need this continued dumping of raw sewage to stop now, and forever. I am preparing a Citizen’s Suit through a Motion to Intervene, and am asking that your agency now provide to the Public, and the Court, the full, unredacted details of all raw sewage bypasses since 1/1/10, including start dates, stop dates and rates of flow. Further, please tell me whom, if anyone, the EPA has contacted at NOAA, the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior concerning these bypasses, as each of these agencies is affected and should have been notified.

I look forward to hearing from you in regard to these issues, as soon as possible.

Sincerely

Susan K. Wolterbeek
President, GreenerVI.org

cc: Lisa Jackson, Administrator, EPA
Thomas Bigford, NOAA
Miyoko Sakashita, Oceans Director, Center For Biological Diversity
Lowe Davis, VI Daily News

NOAA Defers Raw Sewage Issue to EPA … and the Dumping Continues

—–Original Message—–
From: Thomas Bigford [mailto:Thomas.Bigford@noaa.gov]
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 1:09 PM
To: Susan Wolterbeek
Subject: Your Phone Call

Susan — I relayed the basics from our phone conversation and have been heartened by the vigorous discussion across many federal agencies and from regions to headquarters.  I’ll try to distill the conversations in an email to you later today or will ask someone else to contact you in my absence (I’ll be on the west coast from Tues-Thur).  Thanks again for your call.

Tom

—–Original Message—–
From: Thomas Bigford [mailto:Thomas.Bigford@noaa.gov]
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:35 AM
To: Susan Wolterbeek
Cc: Jennifer.Koss; Jennifer Moore; Steven Thur
Subject: Re: Update Tomorrow

Susan —

Sorry for the delay.  My travels to Seattle have been busier than expected.

I shared details from our phone call immediately after we talked last Friday.  The coral, protected species, and habitat folks across NOAA exchanged ideas based on our conversation and your earlier postings to NOAA’s coral email address. The protected species people know their options if Acropora are present.  And the coral people relayed the info to EPA Region 2, with jurisdiction in the islands.  This is really a water quality issue in EPA’s hands but we realize the implications to NOAA interests, too.  I have not seen any new emails in the past day so must assume EPA Region 2 in NYC and the islands are proceeding.  We’ll remain in touch with them so we know what happens.

Tom

Susan Wolterbeek wrote:

Dear Tom:

I see this as impacting Endangered Species, Habitat, Coastal Zone, and your Coral Divisions. In addition to the 72 million gallons dumped 1/17-3/17, VIWMA dumped  April 24-27th. Then, an Iron Man Triathalon was held on Sunday, May 2, and these top competitors, in top physical shape, swam in those waters. We need to stop this dumping.  I have written an analysis and am talking with Judith Enck, Regional Director, EPA tomorrow. I will get back to you after that.

Sincerely, Susan

NOAA Notified of Illegal, Continuing Dumping of Raw Sewage

From: Thomas Bigford [mailto:Thomas.Bigford@noaa.gov]
Sent: Friday, April 30, 2010 4:04 PM
To: Susan Wolterbeek
Subject: Re: VIWMA dumping 72 million gallons or raw sewage over Long Reef, St. Croix

Thanks for your phone call and message, Susan.  I have relayed the information to others and will follow up with them later today and Monday.  I’ll get back to you asap.

Susan Wolterbeek wrote:

April 30, 2010

Mr. Thomas Bigford, Habitat Division (F/HC2)

National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA

1315 East-West Highway, Rm 15317

Silver Spring, MD 20910

Dear Mr. Bigford:

I have been doing the preliminary research on various federal laws and approaches to the problem, and I think the best solution would be to file an amicus brief with the Federal District Court, in conjunction with NOAA, FWS, the Nature Conservancy and the Center for Biological Diversity, and in support of the EPA. Here are the basic facts:

There is a longstanding EPA consent decree based upon prior violations by VIWMA. VIWMA does not abide by the consent decree. VIWMA does not even do the minimum required publishing and reporting every day the fact that it is daily dumping 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage and people should stay out of the coastal waters, and fishermen should not catch fish there. This in itself is a gross negligence for failing to perform the most rudimentary of  health care measures. Further, we have a large tourist population  during the height of season, and they should have been warned as well as the Virgin Islanders.

Also, this discharge of 72 Million Gallons of raw sewage was dumped near protected wildlife refuges, and in coastal waters which is the home to staghorn and elkhorn coral and their habitat, all protected by the ESA as well as protected turtles, fish, and other species.

VIWMA is fiscally irresponsible, not collecting septage and other basic fees, not keeping all federally mandated records or even issuing an annual report for the past 4 years.

VIWMA has not maintained its equipment, or had a reasonable back-up system, resulting in VIWMA dumping 72 million gallons of raw sewage over Long Reef, St. Croix, over a two month period. VIWMA was told by the EPA to stop dumping but did not do so until it received a Court Order.

Federal District Court Judge Gomez issued specific orders on March 18, 2010. VIWMA then violated those orders as reported in a newspaper article.

Then, VIWMA again dumped raw sewage on April 27, 2010.

Clearly, VIWMA has no interest or intention of  following court orders. We cannot wait for VIWMA to dump any more raw sewage.

The Federal District Court has the ability to take extraordinary measures on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands for human health reasons, for criminal taking of Endangered Species, for wholescale mismanagement of  the VIWMA. The Federal District Court may order the EPA to take over management of the VIWMA.

That needs to occur now. If the EPA takes over management of VIWMA, it can stop dumping, buy necessary equipment, say no to Alpine, and focus on a comprehensive waste management plan.

My rough research shows the following:

It is entirely appropriate to file an Amicus Brief , particularly when VIWMA has just violated Federal District Court Orders.

The ESA affects regulation under the Clean Water Act. 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). Moreover, EPA has been negotiating agreements with states that issue NPDES, thus it is also appropriate and helpful to the District Court Judge to get NOAA, FWS, The Nature Conservancy and the Center for Biological Diversity’s  point of view on all of this, while the case is currently before the Court.

ESA § 9 makes it unlawful for anyone to “take” a listed animal, and this includes significantly modifying its habitat.

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.

Thus, NOAA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office may chose to prosecute the Senior Staff, Board of Directors, and perhaps other agency personnel for thousands of criminal violations of the ESA.  All of this could have been avoided,  and now so much of our coral, wildlife preserves and ecosystem in general is at risk. Given what is going on with the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, and how that may devastate the Florida coral populations, that makes this case all the more unconscionable, since it should never have happened.

Pursuant to ESA Chapter 7, “Each federal agency shall . . . ensure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such agency . . . is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat of such species.”  The only way the EPA can ensure this is if it takes over VIWMA.

Do you think NOAA/NMFS would submit an Amicus Brief, either jointly with or separately from the aforementioned agencies? The Center for Biological Diversity is very interested, but they don’t have the manpower to prepare the Amicus Brief. I have been communicating with Peter Galvin, Chief, International Division, telephone: 707.986.2600   email: ‘PGalvin@biologicaldiversity.org

In regard to the Nature Conservancy, since they have 3 project areas of recolonization of Staghorn and Elkhorn Coral around St. Croix and 1 in St. Thomas, (through a NOAA grant) they may have all the data you need to make your criminal as well as civil action successful. The contact person there is:

Kemit-Amon Lewis, Coral Conservation Manager for The Nature Conservancy at (340) 718-5575 or via email klewis@tnc.org.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,

Susan K. Wolterbeek

Federal Partnership Needed in Virgin Islands

April 22, 2010

Adam Warren

Director

VI Renewable Energy Pilot Project

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

1617 Cole Blvd.
Golden, CO 80401-3305
Adam.Warren@nrel.gov

Joseph McDermott

Acting Director Liaison

Office of Insular Affairs – Policy & Liaison Division
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Joseph_McDermott@ios.doi.gov

Steve Meyers

Partnerships and Communications

NOAA Fisheries Service

1315 East West Highway

Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

steve.meyers@noaa.gov

Gentlemen:

I write to you as a stateside attorney and an environmental citizen’s advocate on St. Thomas.  It was a pleasure to speak with all of you in regard to the VI Renewable Energy Pilot Project, the current waste and energy challenges we face in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the need to form a partnership with citizens, environmentalists and federal and local agencies to address these challenges together.

As you can see by the attached articles in the Virgin Islands Daily News, the VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) had a series of equipment breakdowns which resulted in dumping 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage per day over Long Reef in St. Croix from January 17 to mid-March.  The main station in St. Thomas, Cancryn, “has been without a working pump for close to nine months, Cornwall said.”   The landfill in St. Croix was scheduled to close years ago, and St. Thomas is not far behind. Clearly, VIWMA needs help, with a comprehensive approach toward both solid waste and wastewater treatment. These major Territorial issues are in addition to our energy woes, which you are already familiar with.

Understandably, the VI Senate is all the more pressed to find a solution to our landfill and wastewater problems as well as our energy issues.  Alpine and our local government, unilaterally, without citizen knowledge or involvement, entered into an agreement in 2009 for a waste to energy concept which is fueled primarily by petroleum coke and oil, and refuse derived fuel (rdf). Many factors are not addressed by Alpine, such as, for example, the horrendous toll on the environment from heavy metal and CO2 emissions. If we do not lower our CO2 emissions, all the remaining coral in the world will die.

There has been a vehement outcry of collective opposition to the Alpine plan by citizens and environmentalists, from both an economic and an environmental perspective. Many town and community meetings have been held, dozens and dozens of Letters to the Editor have been published, Testimony has been given before the VI Senate, and several environmentalists have devoted themselves full-time to researching and educating the rest of us as to the facts and the issues involved. I prepared a brief analysis for the Senate.  Please see the attached letter to Senator Malone which discusses the Alpine plan and how it is counter to the goals of EDIN and our Country’s and Territory’s pledge to decrease our reliance on oil-based solutions.

A portion of the Alpine plan was voted down by the VI Senate in March, 2010, but Alpine is modifying their proposal and will be submitting it to the VI Legislature within 2-4 weeks, according to VIWMA.  According to the VI Daily News, the new Alpine plan would only burn petroleum coke in an emergency. Yet that means that rather than building a straight rtf plant, they would be building a plant for an untried technology, (burning rtf and petroleum coke), just for an emergency situation. That is not logical from an economic aspect, unless they plan to have many emergencies. The previous plan called for burning up to 4,600 hours of oil a year, with the petroleum coke and rtf.  An oil-based solution, even with rtf, is not the best solution, and would tie us to the volatile oil market for at least 20 years, right when everyone has agreed in EDIN that we will be the pilot for renewable energy.

China and India are burning petroleum coke, and having a very negative impact on the world’s atmosphere.  Our federal agencies cannot do anything about those jurisdictions, but you gentlemen can make all the difference by helping our Territory to say no to Alpine, and instead, working together,  put great minds to the task of coming up with a comprehensive waste management system, and hopefully a waste to energy system using AC Plasma Gasification.

We citizens and environmentalists have been consulting with a Professional Engineer in Waste Management who is preparing a solid waste strategy/plan now, to submit to the VI Senate for their careful consideration as an alternative to the Alpine proposal. The concept is to address all of the USVI solid waste issues, to develop a comprehensive plan which is economical and environmentally responsible. By representatives of all concerned focused together, with transparency, we will be able to implement the plan much more efficiently, without collective energy focused on objections and lawsuits.  Further, since all federal and local agencies would be involved in the process from the outset, the permitting and approvals would be more streamlined.

Alpine’s waste to energy plan would tie the territory to using petroleum coke, oil or both for at least the next 20 years. Thus, this issue involves not only the EPA, but all the federal agencies who are committed to the success of the EDIN VI Renewable Energy Pilot Project. Further, the high CO2 and heavy metal emissions, in addition to other hazardous materials, affect the islands and coastal waters which are the responsibility of NOAA and FWS.  If all these federal agencies are helping us Virgin Islanders and our government to shoulder the collective responsibility for the success of this waste to energy project, we will succeed.

Our solid waste strategy/plan includes the consideration of alternating current (AC) plasma gasification, which would be a far more economical, environmentally green waste to energy system.  Since AC plasma gasification is cutting edge technology, it should be of great interest to the federal agencies involved in the VI Pilot Project. We will forward these documents to you as soon as they are submitted.

Sincerely yours,

Susan K. Wolterbeek

cc: Judith Enck, EPA Administrator, Region II

Miyoko Sakashita, Esq. Center for Biological Diversity

Letter to NOAA Bureau Chiefs

February 14, 2010

Sarah Heberling, NOAA

Steve Meyers, NOAA

Dave Bernhardt, NOAA

Miles Croom, NOAA

Dear NOAA Chiefs:

The Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority is dumping an enormous amount of raw sewage onto Long Reef, St Croix, US Virgin Islands, and has been doing so all last week. Please see the VI Daily News article below.   Sadly, I learned from Paul Chakroff, Executive Director of the St. Croix Environmental Association, that Waste Management has been dumping large quantities of raw sewage every few months for many years, and DPNR has kept on allowing it, every time. Each time they claim it is an emergency, so that they can qualify under a provision in a 1990 consent order between DPNR and VI Public Works, which is attached.

Paragraph 17 of said agreement states “DPNR records document an extensive chronology of unpermitted discharges of untreated sewage into the waters on all three islands.” Now, 20 years later, Waste Management is still dumping raw sewage, every few months.    I have alerted Judith Enck, our new EPA Regional Administrator, of the dumping. Ms. Enck had just visited the Virgin Islands, and met with not only the local government but also with local environmentalists and concerned citizen groups, one of the first meetings of its kind here with federal agents, which we deeply appreciated. Barely two days after Administrator Enck left, Waste Management suddenly had another quarterly emergency and the dumping began again. The EPA is investigating the matter from their end, but it would help to coordinate agency efforts, and to let the USVI citizens know that you care, because they are killing our coral, and this dumping of raw sewage has been going on and on for years.

Since DPNR is under NOAA, and you are all bureau chiefs and coral experts, won’t you please force Waste Management and DPNR to come up with at least an interim plan, immediately, so they will not do any more dumping? Second, can any funds and personnel be released to evaluate and clean up Long Reef, before it is too late? I emailed Dr. Lisamarie Carrubba, our local NOAA contact, but she has not even responded. Again, this has been an ongoing problem, for decades.  Can’t we please get a task force down here, from National Headquarters, before it is too late?

Waste Management still has all residents throwing garbage into huge dumpsters, without any recycling.  They have agreed to the Alpine plan to build petroleum coke/oil/garbage burning plants here, using the heavy metal refuse from Venezuelan oil, hence very high in sulphur, emitting far greater CO2 than at present, right into Stalley Bay, which the local government characterized a few months ago as “pristine”, and filled with endangered species.

A lease has already been signed to build these plants in St. Thomas and St. Croix, with 444 million of  Virgin Island ratepayers’ money, then run these plants for 20 years, with a renewal for another 20 years. They plan to build a 10 million dollar dock in St. Thomas, with 300 foot barges driving in all of the petroleum coke, ammonia, and other products, and barging out 370,000 tons of fly ash per year, without any spills or accidents. There would be huge intake and outflow pipes of “treated water” going out into this “pristine” bay.  It is very windy here in the Virgin Islands. They plan to build silos to contain only 2 days worth of fly ash. What if the barges were to run into heavy weather several days in a row? Please see the attached letter to Senator Malone, urging him to take action and dispense with Alpine.

I am taking a similar approach with Alpine as to that which worked so successfully in Lindbergh Bay, as you all may remember from October, and caused the local government to withdraw their application to dump dredge spoils just a few days after the letter to USACE was published in the VI Daily News.

In addition to all the citizens and environmentalists who have written daily Letters to the Editor for many months now, and testified before the Senate, and the appeal of the Public Service Commission decision, I am consulting with federal agencies, supplying documentary proof, and publishing the legal analysis, but I am a private citizen, unpaid, without resources or clout of a federal agency. If NOAA has a position for this sort of work, I am your woman, but otherwise it would be of enormous help if the federal agencies would take a more proactive role here, beginning with stopping the dumping of raw sewage onto our reefs.

After all, your agency is spending millions to fund coral and coastal zone programs.  Those monies and efforts are wasted if raw sewage is being dumped on the reefs, and petroleum coke/oil/garbage plants belch out heavy metals, dioxins and high levels of CO2 for the next 40 years.  May we please form a coalition, now, of federal agencies, local agencies, environmentalists and citizens to address our waste and energy issues?  Thank you for your consideration in regard to this matter. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,

Susan K. Wolterbeek

 

Miyoko Sakashita, Esq., Center for Biological Diversity

Dr. Caroline Rogers

Dr. Jeff Miller

Judith Enck, EPA Administrator, Region II

Dumping Raw Sewage onto Long Reef

Dumping Raw Sewage onto Long Reef

On February 6, 2010, the VI Daily News reported that the VI Waste Management Authority (VIWMA)  was dumping raw sewage over Long Reef.

Upon reading the article that Saturday morning, GreenerVI.com President Susan Wolterbeek emailed Judith Enck, the newly appointed EPA Administrator for Region 2, (which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven tribal nations). Administrator Enck responded that afternoon, saying she would take care of it, and she did.

On Monday, February 8, 2010, Jim Casey, our local EPA representative, immediately started the investigation and called Wolterbeek with an update. Mr. Casey’s investigation confirmed VIWMA was dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage over the reef, every day.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion in Federal District Court in mid-March to stop VIWMA from dumping any more raw sewage.

As reported by the Daily News:

“According to the order, Earl Haase, Waste Management’s director of wastewater, testified in court Tuesday about the Figtree pump station failures. He said Figtree receives about 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage a day, all of which was bypassed into the Figtree gut while all three pumps at the station were down. The problems at the Figtree pump station began Jan. 17 when electrical problems caused a pump to fail. ”

Therefore, by VIWMA’s own admission, approximately 72 Million Gallons of raw sewage was dumped onto Long Reef.  As the VI Daily News reported, before rendering a final written order, Federal District Court Judge Gomez  ordered Waste Management to do the following:

– Ensure the one working pump at Figtree station remains operational.

– Install a second working pump at Figtree by Tuesday.

– Comply with the public notification requirements as detailed in the Territorial

Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. According to the permit, the agency must notify the public by television, radio and newspaper each day a sewage bypass occurs.

– Ensure that St. Croix has two operational auxiliary diesel pumps for emergencies. The first must be obtained by Wednesday and the second by March 26.

– Certify that the Cancryn pump station on St. Thomas has a six-inch and a four-inch auxiliary diesel pump in working order as backup for the 10-inch pump currently in operation.

The federal government said in Thursday’s court filing that in addition to the problems at LBJ and Figtree, the Barren Spot pump station on St. Croix and the Cancryn pump station on St. Thomas also are in danger of failing as well.

The EPA issued a press release on March 22, 2010, as shown below, confirming these specific orders.  One would think that VIWMA would be very scrupulously complying with the federal court order, purchasing and installing all the replacement and backup pumps according to the judge’s schedule. Also note that VIWMA was to certify that two pumps at the Cancryn Pump Station, the main station of St. Thomas, are operational. Yet the VI Daily News article dated Friday, April 16, 2010, below, told a different story:

“Because of the frequent failures, Waste Management is planning to buy a number of upgraded pumps to replace the downed pumped and a backup for each station on St. Croix.” …“St. Thomas’ Cancryn pump station – the island’s main 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.”

These  statements lead one to believe that the pumps have not been purchased yet, and that VIWMA could not have certified that the Cancryn Pump Station is operational, if it has been without a working pump for 9 months. Therefore, GreenerVI.org’s Wolterbeek has written the attached letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Judith Enck, Administrator of Region 2 of the EPA.

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