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EPA

Pledge for Prospective Senators

Dear Editor, VI DailyNews,

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Dated: November 6, 2012

Signed:

 

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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

EPA is Stonewalling Release of Raw Sewage Dumping Amounts

From: Susan Wolterbeek [mailto:susan@greenervi.org]
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 11:28 AM
To: ‘Calderon, Wanda’
Cc: ‘Bellow.Bonnie@epamail.epa.gov’; ‘enck.judith@epamail.epa.gov’
Subject: Please follow federal law and honor my FIOA request of 3-28-11
Importance: High

Dear Ms. Calderon:

I am writing to follow-up, again, on my FOIA request of March 28, 2011, due on or before April 18, 2011.  I still have not received the information requested, namely:

“all wastewater discharges in the USVI since January 1, 2010, including when the discharges commenced, when they stopped, and the quantities involved.”

Pursuant to 5 United States Code 552(a)(4)(F):

(i) Whenever the court orders the production of any agency records improperly withheld from the complainant and assesses against the United States reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs, and the court additionally issues a written finding that the circumstances surrounding the withholding raise questions whether agency personnel acted arbitrarily or capriciously with respect to the withholding, the Special Counsel shall promptly initiate a proceeding to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted against the officer or employee who was primarily responsible for the withholding. The Special Counsel, after investigation and consideration of the evidence submitted, shall submit his findings and recommendations to the administrative authority of the agency concerned and shall send copies of the findings and recommendations to the officer or employee or his representative. The administrative authority shall take the corrective action that the Special Counsel recommends.

Please supply this information immediately. You are already 3 days late, you have stopped even acknowledging my requests, and you yourself are now complicit in postponing my filings in federal district court by continuing to withhold this data which is public information. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Susan K. Wolterbeek

Is Anyone Home at the EPA?

Please read the two letters to EPA Region 2 Administrator Enck in our Current Crises Page; it is well worth reading.  These two letters are still unanswered since May last year!!!

From: Susan Wolterbeek [mailto:susan@greenervi.org]
Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 12:02 AM
To: ‘Bellow.Bonnie@epamail.epa.gov’
Cc: ‘enck.judith@epamail.epa.gov’
Subject: When will I be receiving the Promised reply to letters dated 5/17/10 and 3/2/11?

Dear Bonnie:

When we spoke several weeks ago, you assured me that I would soon be receiving a response to my letters to the Regional Administrator of last May 17, 2010 and March 2, 2011. Will you now please make this a priority?

Your agency refuses to file for contempt or even alert the Court that VIWMA pumped a further 69+ days of raw sewage into our coastal waters. If the rate was again pumped out at 1.2 million gallons per day,  the polluting surpassed last year’s total. The EPA in its new filing has grossly misstated the facts to the Court, and did not even mention to the Court that VIWMA is not giving required warnings to the public. I look forward to receiving the Promised response to my letter to Judith Enck. Sincerely, Susan

EPA Misleads the Court on Severity of Sewage Dumping

From: Susan Wolterbeek [mailto:susan@greenervi.org]
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2011 11:18 PM
To: ‘Gonzalez.EduardoJ@epamail.epa.gov’
Cc: ‘Feinmark.Phyllis@epamail.epa.gov’; ‘SueParten@aol.com’; ‘donald.frankel@usdoj.gov’; ‘Joycelyn.Hewlett@usdoj.gov’; ‘dave@greenervi.org’; ‘enck.judith@epamail.epa.gov’; ‘Bellow.Bonnie@epamail.epa.gov’
Subject: Corrected data- 69 days of bypasses

Dear Eduardo:

I wanted to give you a quick heads up, because your are significantly misstating facts to Judge Gomez. As you can see by the summary I sent you on March 30, 2011, as well as the above communication by VIWMA, Barren Spot was bypassing from March 13, 2011 through March 23, 2011. There were other bypasses by Barren Spot as well:

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

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

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.

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

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

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

12/2/2010-12/3/2010 Barren Spot ditch line for diesel pump separated                  1 Day  3 Hours 15 min.

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

3/13/2011-3/23/2011 Barren Spot PS/submersible pump elec. failure             10 Days 7 Hours 15 min.

Total For Barren Spot:                                                                                                 18 days 18 hours 30 min.

Other major bypasses which you did not mention at all were:

4/23/2010-5/3/2010  Broken Force Main LBJ (Figtree had LBJ’s pump)              10 Days

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

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

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

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

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

Total for other pump stations:                                                                                   50 Days 17.5 hours plus Weymouth Rhymer

These 69+ Days of pumping raw sewage into our coastal waters are just the ones that I know about, given the incomplete records, and not including the Hurricane Earl mass outages. There may be many more bypasses, but these are the ones I told you about in my summary from the Non-Compliance Reports I received from Jim Casey. I am hoping to soon receive the more comprehensive information from Mr. Modesto and Mr. Font.

Therefore, you may want to correct your statement to the Court.   It appears that VIWMA may have pumped out more raw sewage over our reefs this year than they did last year. Your continued refusal to enforce the statute and move for contempt is inexplicable. Sincerely, Susan

 

VIWMA Dumping Sewage Report are Non-Compliant

Dear Mr. Modesto and Mr. Font:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act I have previously requested, of the EPA:

“all wastewater discharges in the USVI since January 1, 2010,
including when the discharges commenced, when they stopped,
and the quantities involved.”

As you know, Part II of the TPDES Permit Section B General Conditions 18. Availability of Information states that this information shall be made available to the public without further notice. Mr. Casey agreed that this is public information and provided me with the attached Non-Compliance Reports, which themselves are unfortunately woefully incomplete. Some reports simply say “Ongoing” in regard to bypasses during a period of days or weeks when VIWMA has been actively pumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into our coastal waters.  There are no stop dates or quantities listed.  I am attaching a summary of these discharges, as reported in the Non-Compliance Reports.  Please inform me as to the name and title of the people at DPNR and the EPA who have the responsibility of reviewing these documents for compliance with the mandates of federal law, court orders and the TPDES permits.

There were newspaper articles and press releases printed in the VI Newspapers which also indicate further bypasses, for which there are not any Non-Compliance Reports at all.  One example of this is the bypass which occurred on St. Croix April 24-May 3, 2010, as reflected in the attached article.

Therefore, the information requested has not been fully furnished to me. I understand that you would be the people who would have the specific information requested, including where the bypass occurred and why, start dates, stop dates, and the quantity of flow.  Would you please provide this previously requested information, in full, immediately, or as soon as possible, as I will be filing documents with the Federal District Court, this week, and I am endeavoring to be as accurate as possible with the data supplied to the Court. I appreciate your supplying this information, because the court would want it to be supplied now that it is considering the current condition of the wastewater systems, and whether VIWMA has been compliant with previous court orders. Perhaps your counsel has already requested this information.

In addition, please specify the name and title of the people responsible for confirming that every time there is a bypass exceeding 8 hours, that public notice is given according to the TPDES Permit and the Federal Court Order. I understand that DPNR oversees VIWMA, but who at DPNR and who at the EPA are in charge of reviewing this compliance or lack thereof? Were you aware that VIWMA (and DPNR) have not been following this court order and important condition of the TPDES Permit?

Finally, will there be any communication from the EPA to the Triathletes, or from the EPA to the Health Department concerning the triathletes, who will soon be swimming in the affected waters? From a legal perspective, since the EPA is the regulatory agency, it is responsible to the people of the Virgin Islands for allowing VIWMA to continue pumping raw sewage over long reef. I believe it is the EPA’s obligation, at the very least, to give the Department of Health all the facts concerning the bypasses. Please let me know if you intend to do so. Thank you, in advance,  for your prompt reply. Sincerely, Susan K. Wolterbeek

EPA is hiding the Raw Sewage Flow Quantities!

Ms. Calderon:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act I have previously requested, of the EPA:

“all wastewater discharges in the USVI since January 1, 2010,
including when the discharges commenced, when they stopped,
and the quantities involved.”

I have not received that information. I have received Non-Compliance Reports, which do not state the above information. There are no reports, or very limited information, when the very worst bypasses occurred. For example, the EPA proved to the federal district court that between January and March, 2010, VIWMA pumped over 50 million gallons of raw sewage into our coastal waters. Now look at the Non-Compliance reports for that 2 month period. These reports do not give the required start and stop dates,  or the quantities involved. See, i.e. Barren Spot attachment.   It is my understanding that given his prior testimony, Mr. Modesto has this information, and Mr. Font is above him.

VIWMA dumped again April 23-May3, 2010. There are no Non-Compliance Report for those dates. This January-March, 2011, again VIWMA has been pumping raw sewage into our coastal waters. I AM ASKING FOR THIS PREVIOUSLY REQUESTED DATA.

In addition, I am asking for the names and titles of the people in DPNR and EPA who supervise and/or regulate VIWMA. Who reviews VIWMA’s Non-Compliance Reports? Who ensures that VIWMA is following the requirements of the TPDES Permit? Who ensures that VIWMA and DPNR are in compliance with the current court orders in regard to having the necessary, maintained equipment, and giving the public notice when bypasses occur?

Please provide this information. Given the fact that Federal District Judge Gomez was outraged that VIWMA pumped 50 million gallons of raw sewage over our reefs last year, he will want to know the quantity of raw sewage that VIWMA dumped over our reefs this year, and who is responsible.    I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. Sincerely, Susan K. Wolterbeek

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

US Attorney Notified About Continuing, Illegal Dumping of Raw Sewage

Although We Wrote to the US Attorney About Contempt of Court Orders, We Heard Nothing Further

Response email from the US Attorney

From: Hewlett, Joycelyn (USAVI) [mailto:Joycelyn.Hewlett@usdoj.gov]
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:45 PM
To: Susan Wolterbeek
Cc: Enck.Judith@epamail.epa.gov; miyoko sakashita; Frankel, Donald (ENRD)
Subject: RE: Recent dumping of 72 million gallons of raw sewage over Long Reef

Dear Ms. Wolterbeek:

Thank you for your telephone call and e-mail.  I have copied Attorney Donald Frankel, the lead attorney on this case.  He has been following the developments in this case and will respond accordingly.

Original Notification Letter to US Attorney, Asking Them to Enforce Court Orders and the Endangered Species Act

Joycelyn Hewlett
Civil Chief/ FLU Supervisory Attorney

United States Attorney’s Office
United States Courthouse & Federal Building
5500 Veteran’s Drive, Suite 260
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802-6424

Re:  Recent dumping of 72 million gallons of raw sewage over Long Reef

Dear Attorney Hewlett:

I am a stateside attorney and former NYC Assistant District Attorney, and am writing in regard to VIWMA’s dumping 72 million gallons of raw sewage over Long Reef from January 17th through mid-March, 2010.  The VI Daily News reported that Federal District Court Judge Gomez directed VIWMA 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.

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 the Cancryn Pump Station, the main station of St. Thomas, is operational, with two back-up pumps. However, according to the VI Daily News article dated Friday, April 16, 2010:

“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, in direct violation of the District Court Order.

I wrote to Jim Casey, Virgin Islands Coordinator of EPA Region 2 on Monday, April 26, 2010 to suggest that the EPA  may want to  confirm that VIWMA has complied with the March District Court Order. Then, the next day, VIWMA again allowed raw sewage to flow into our coastal waters and the Caribbean Sea.  It was emphatically stated that this new release of raw sewage was a pipe issue, not the pumps, but you may want to find out whether VIWMA bought and installed the pumps as specified in the court order, or just submitted a plan to do so.

Further, the March Court Order states that Cancryn pump station “is in danger of failing”, not that it has already failed, waste is currently diverted around Cancryn, and that station has been without a working pump for 9 months.  According to the Order, VIWMA had to certify in March for Cancryn that there are 4 inch and 6 inch auxiliary backup pumps in addition to a working 10 inch operational pump. Yet, VIWMA stated in April that the Cancryn pump has not been working for 9 months, so how could they possibly make such a certification?

According to NOAA, “coral reefs buffer adjacent shorelines from wave action and prevent erosion, property damage and loss of life. Reefs also protect the highly productive wetlands along the coast, as well as ports and harbors and the economies they support. Healthy reefs contribute to local economies through tourism. Diving tours, fishing trips, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses based near reef systems provide millions of jobs and contribute billions of dollars all over the world. Recent studies show that millions of people visit coral reefs in the Florida Keys every year. These reefs alone are estimated to have an asset value of $7.6 billion (Johns et al., 2001).”

You may be aware of the enormous oil spill which is near Florida and appears to be headed for the Florida Keys, where NOAA and Coral experts have been protecting and recolonizing coral. If Florida’s coral dies from this massive oil spill, we must be all the more protective of the coral in the USVI.

There remains only 3 percent left of the coral of 30 years ago.  Staghorn and Elkhorn Coral are currently protected by the Endangered Species Act, and the Center for Biological Diversity has filed a formal petition to protect 83 more imperiled coral species, seven of which are local to the U.S. Virgin Islands.  These corals already face a growing threat of extinction due to rising ocean temperatures caused by global warming, and the related threat of ocean acidification.  Now 72 million gallons of raw sewage has been dumped onto the reefs, then more on Tuesday. Steps must be taken to ensure there will be no more dumping, or the reefs will be gone.

Sincerely yours,

Susan K. Wolterbeek

cc: Judith Enck, EPA Administrator, Region 2

Miyoko Sakashita, Oceans Director, Center for Biological Diversity

WAPA Spewing Heavy Pollution into Our Air

 

 

 

This is an example photo of the heavy, sticky soot being spewed into our environment by WAPA in St Thomas on December 5th, 2010.

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