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EPA Misleads the Court on Severity of Sewage Dumping

From: Susan Wolterbeek []
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2011 11:18 PM
To: ‘’
Cc: ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’
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

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