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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 19, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesMORE SEWAGE INTO THE SEA AT LBJ

MORE SEWAGE INTO THE SEA AT LBJ

Another malfunction of the LBJ pump station has forced the Department of Public Works to discharge partially treated sewage over Long Reef.
With the latest pump failure, though, DPW Commissioner Harold Thompson said that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency have approved the use of up to $130,000 from the Corrective Action Trust Fund to begin emergency repairs at the LBJ and Figtree pump stations.
No date has been for when the work will be completed.
In the meantime, Thompson said DPW is adding chlorine to the sewage before it is discharged into the sea. Because of that, he urged the public to avoid the water from the LBJ area west to La Grande Princesse.
"Water quality in that area will be tested by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources," Thompson said. "The results will be made available to the public."
Along with the thousands of residents who live along the affected shoreline is condo row. Adam Hoover, director of Antilles Resort Management Inc., operator of Club St. Croix, Colony Cove and Mill Harbor resorts, said the company is monitoring the situation.
Earlier this summer, he said the malfunctioning pump had cost the resorts hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue because of sewage discharges and ensuing beach closures. August, however, is the one of the slowest months for the resorts.
"I don’t have the same problem as before," Hoover said. "This is about the deadest time for tourism."
Still, he said residents in the area can’t utilize the beach. But Hoover said Thompson and DPNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett have been working on the issue for the past several months.
"What we’re all trying to do is deal with this situation, which isn’t good for anybody," Hoover said. "I see enough movement by Public Works and DPNR to deal with this issue. I don’t see that it’s going to go into the tourist season."
The territory's struggle to meet federal Clean Water Act requirements is decades old. Since the early 1980s, the EPA and the Department of Justice have levied millions of dollars worth of fines for the territory's wastewater noncompliance. In 1985 and 1994, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the EPA, sued the V.I. government to force it to properly treat sewage being released into near-shore waters.
In 1996, the two parties signed a consent decree that called for specific steps to be taken, such as the construction of a wastewater treatment plant on St. John and one near the Mangrove Lagoon on St. Thomas.
St. Croix’s wastewater system, however, is antiquated and prone to malfunctions.The LBJ station pumps sewage from the Christiansted area up and over the hilly mid-island area to the Figtree station just east of HOVENSA. From the Figtree station, the sewage is pumped to DPW’s wastewater treatment plant near the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
The sewage is treated at the plant and then piped approximately a mile out to sea where it is released.

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Another malfunction of the LBJ pump station has forced the Department of Public Works to discharge partially treated sewage over Long Reef.
With the latest pump failure, though, DPW Commissioner Harold Thompson said that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency have approved the use of up to $130,000 from the Corrective Action Trust Fund to begin emergency repairs at the LBJ and Figtree pump stations.
No date has been for when the work will be completed.
In the meantime, Thompson said DPW is adding chlorine to the sewage before it is discharged into the sea. Because of that, he urged the public to avoid the water from the LBJ area west to La Grande Princesse.
"Water quality in that area will be tested by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources," Thompson said. "The results will be made available to the public."
Along with the thousands of residents who live along the affected shoreline is condo row. Adam Hoover, director of Antilles Resort Management Inc., operator of Club St. Croix, Colony Cove and Mill Harbor resorts, said the company is monitoring the situation.
Earlier this summer, he said the malfunctioning pump had cost the resorts hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue because of sewage discharges and ensuing beach closures. August, however, is the one of the slowest months for the resorts.
"I don’t have the same problem as before," Hoover said. "This is about the deadest time for tourism."
Still, he said residents in the area can’t utilize the beach. But Hoover said Thompson and DPNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett have been working on the issue for the past several months.
"What we’re all trying to do is deal with this situation, which isn’t good for anybody," Hoover said. "I see enough movement by Public Works and DPNR to deal with this issue. I don’t see that it’s going to go into the tourist season."
The territory's struggle to meet federal Clean Water Act requirements is decades old. Since the early 1980s, the EPA and the Department of Justice have levied millions of dollars worth of fines for the territory's wastewater noncompliance. In 1985 and 1994, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the EPA, sued the V.I. government to force it to properly treat sewage being released into near-shore waters.
In 1996, the two parties signed a consent decree that called for specific steps to be taken, such as the construction of a wastewater treatment plant on St. John and one near the Mangrove Lagoon on St. Thomas.
St. Croix’s wastewater system, however, is antiquated and prone to malfunctions.The LBJ station pumps sewage from the Christiansted area up and over the hilly mid-island area to the Figtree station just east of HOVENSA. From the Figtree station, the sewage is pumped to DPW’s wastewater treatment plant near the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
The sewage is treated at the plant and then piped approximately a mile out to sea where it is released.