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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, May 23, 2022
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CASEY: PUBLIC WORKS HASN'T MET STANDARDS

The Virgin Islands Public Works Department still has a ways to go to satisfy federal environmental officials that it can control untreated wastewater being discharged into the ocean around St. Croix.
PWD has been ordered by a federal judge to meet specific targets if the government is to avoid penalties for the polluting discharges. However, according to Jim Casey, the regional officer for the Environmental Protection Agency, Public Works is lagging behind in compliance.
"The government has been unable to meet the standards set by the federal government in a timely fashion," Casey said. The pace set for repairs to stop the discharges is neither "acceptable or commendable by the EPA," he added.
The sewage problem, at one point, was so bad that untreated wastewater
was flooding some areas of downtown Christiansted. Millions of gallons were going untreated. Casey said that while the problem is no longer as obvious to the public, it is nevertheless just as threatening to the marine environment. "Although they are not in public view there are still some bypasses occurring that are threatening the marine environment of the territory," he said.
He cited as examples a residual bypass that exists on the east airport road in St. Croix and at the intersection near the gutter at Estate Bethlehem.
The PWD has cited a deteriorated sewage infrastructure and the lack of money to fund repairs and improvements as reasons for the territory's violations.
Casey said, however, that the federal agency has provided additional resources, and is willing to make emergency funds available to help out, but there are conditions.
The PWD will have to report to the supervising federal judge next month
on the progress it is making toward compliance. However, based on developments thus far, it would appear that the department is well below the standard set by the court, according to Casey.

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The Virgin Islands Public Works Department still has a ways to go to satisfy federal environmental officials that it can control untreated wastewater being discharged into the ocean around St. Croix.
PWD has been ordered by a federal judge to meet specific targets if the government is to avoid penalties for the polluting discharges. However, according to Jim Casey, the regional officer for the Environmental Protection Agency, Public Works is lagging behind in compliance.
"The government has been unable to meet the standards set by the federal government in a timely fashion," Casey said. The pace set for repairs to stop the discharges is neither "acceptable or commendable by the EPA," he added.
The sewage problem, at one point, was so bad that untreated wastewater
was flooding some areas of downtown Christiansted. Millions of gallons were going untreated. Casey said that while the problem is no longer as obvious to the public, it is nevertheless just as threatening to the marine environment. "Although they are not in public view there are still some bypasses occurring that are threatening the marine environment of the territory," he said.
He cited as examples a residual bypass that exists on the east airport road in St. Croix and at the intersection near the gutter at Estate Bethlehem.
The PWD has cited a deteriorated sewage infrastructure and the lack of money to fund repairs and improvements as reasons for the territory's violations.
Casey said, however, that the federal agency has provided additional resources, and is willing to make emergency funds available to help out, but there are conditions.
The PWD will have to report to the supervising federal judge next month
on the progress it is making toward compliance. However, based on developments thus far, it would appear that the department is well below the standard set by the court, according to Casey.