78.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, May 23, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesNOVEL SEWAGE PLAN IGNORED BY PUBLIC WORKS

NOVEL SEWAGE PLAN IGNORED BY PUBLIC WORKS

Oct. 25, 2001 — Onaje Jackson and Kelly Gloger could be best described as two unconventional fish swimming against the unyielding current of the establishment.
The two men -– an architect and a scientist, respectively, by training -– have a fresh vision for the treatment of St. Croix’s sewage that most engineers, conservative creatures by nature, have a hard time seeing.
Jackson is the principal behind St. Croix-based Carib Infra-Tech Inc. Gloger is the senior associate. What they are proposing is a novel, yet proven, method to treat wastewater to replace what is done now, which entails dumping "marginally treated" sewage into the Caribbean Sea.
Their plan would entail pumping 1 million to 3 million gallons per day of discharge from the Public Works Department’s wastewater treatment plant next to the Anguilla dump to constructed wetlands in the mid-island area of St. Croix. That would eliminate discharge into the ocean and allow for the wastewater to be reclaimed for a variety of uses.
"We are proposing this solution for the main treatment of our wastewater stream," Jackson told members of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday during a presentation of Infra-Tech’s proposal. "This is emerging technology in the last 30 years." The federal Environmental Protection Agency "is backing it," he said.
According to the EPA, constructed wetlands treatment systems are engineered systems that have been designed and constructed to utilize the natural processes involving wetland vegetation, soils and their "associated microbial assemblages" to assist in treating wastewater. The wetlands are designed to take advantage of many of the same processes that occur in natural wetlands, but do so within a more controlled environment.
There are 17 such systems in 10 states that have been designed and operated with the sole purpose of treating wastewater, while others have been implemented with multiple-use objectives in mind, such as using treated wastewater effluent as a water source for the creation and restoration of wetland habitat for wildlife and to enhance the environment.
And that is exactly what Infra-Tech is espousing. The reclaimed water from the St. Croix sewage system would be a boon for tourism-related water consumers, Jackson contends. It could, for example, ensure the Carambola Golf Club of "a reliable year-round supply of fresh water, allowing it to irrigate its course sufficiently and improve its tourism product value."
The Infra-Tech proposal also envisions the creation of "an interpretative trail and bird-watching facilities at the treatment wetland and a multi-purpose heritage and fruit trail."
But Jackson, a former director of the Planning and Natural Resources Department's Coastal Zone Management program, said that even though he and Gloger have tried to get Public Works officials on board, they have heard nothing back.
And that is disheartening, considering Public Works will likely have to renovate the Anguilla wastewater plant to meet EPA standards, since the agency recently denied a Public Works waiver application that would have excused it from having to treat sewage at a secondary level.
Public Works’ current inability to manage discharges from its wastewater treatment plant at the primary level, which means removing solids from liquid before discharging into the ocean, doesn’t bode well, because secondary treatment entails higher -– and more expensive -– standards. Public Works has two years to develop a compliance plan detailing how it would attain secondary treatment. Estimates to retrofit several of the territory’s old treatment plants, including the one on St. Croix, have been pegged at approximately $20 million.
Jackson and Gloger said their proposal would cost $13 million. Still, "we haven’t heard back from [Public Works officials] at all," Gloger said, adding that isn’t unusual, considering the unconventional idea involved. "Other public works departments in other communities have always been the last on board," he said.
Jackson said that is largely due to the "technical culture" within the engineering field that makes it difficult to accept new, largely non-mechanical ideas.
"But there is a crisis, and a decision will have to be made on this in the next year," Jackson said. "This is too important to stiff arm."

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,718FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Oct. 25, 2001 -- Onaje Jackson and Kelly Gloger could be best described as two unconventional fish swimming against the unyielding current of the establishment.
The two men -– an architect and a scientist, respectively, by training -– have a fresh vision for the treatment of St. Croix’s sewage that most engineers, conservative creatures by nature, have a hard time seeing.
Jackson is the principal behind St. Croix-based Carib Infra-Tech Inc. Gloger is the senior associate. What they are proposing is a novel, yet proven, method to treat wastewater to replace what is done now, which entails dumping "marginally treated" sewage into the Caribbean Sea.
Their plan would entail pumping 1 million to 3 million gallons per day of discharge from the Public Works Department’s wastewater treatment plant next to the Anguilla dump to constructed wetlands in the mid-island area of St. Croix. That would eliminate discharge into the ocean and allow for the wastewater to be reclaimed for a variety of uses.
"We are proposing this solution for the main treatment of our wastewater stream," Jackson told members of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday during a presentation of Infra-Tech’s proposal. "This is emerging technology in the last 30 years." The federal Environmental Protection Agency "is backing it," he said.
According to the EPA, constructed wetlands treatment systems are engineered systems that have been designed and constructed to utilize the natural processes involving wetland vegetation, soils and their "associated microbial assemblages" to assist in treating wastewater. The wetlands are designed to take advantage of many of the same processes that occur in natural wetlands, but do so within a more controlled environment.
There are 17 such systems in 10 states that have been designed and operated with the sole purpose of treating wastewater, while others have been implemented with multiple-use objectives in mind, such as using treated wastewater effluent as a water source for the creation and restoration of wetland habitat for wildlife and to enhance the environment.
And that is exactly what Infra-Tech is espousing. The reclaimed water from the St. Croix sewage system would be a boon for tourism-related water consumers, Jackson contends. It could, for example, ensure the Carambola Golf Club of "a reliable year-round supply of fresh water, allowing it to irrigate its course sufficiently and improve its tourism product value."
The Infra-Tech proposal also envisions the creation of "an interpretative trail and bird-watching facilities at the treatment wetland and a multi-purpose heritage and fruit trail."
But Jackson, a former director of the Planning and Natural Resources Department's Coastal Zone Management program, said that even though he and Gloger have tried to get Public Works officials on board, they have heard nothing back.
And that is disheartening, considering Public Works will likely have to renovate the Anguilla wastewater plant to meet EPA standards, since the agency recently denied a Public Works waiver application that would have excused it from having to treat sewage at a secondary level.
Public Works’ current inability to manage discharges from its wastewater treatment plant at the primary level, which means removing solids from liquid before discharging into the ocean, doesn’t bode well, because secondary treatment entails higher -– and more expensive -– standards. Public Works has two years to develop a compliance plan detailing how it would attain secondary treatment. Estimates to retrofit several of the territory’s old treatment plants, including the one on St. Croix, have been pegged at approximately $20 million.
Jackson and Gloger said their proposal would cost $13 million. Still, "we haven’t heard back from [Public Works officials] at all," Gloger said, adding that isn’t unusual, considering the unconventional idea involved. "Other public works departments in other communities have always been the last on board," he said.
Jackson said that is largely due to the "technical culture" within the engineering field that makes it difficult to accept new, largely non-mechanical ideas.
"But there is a crisis, and a decision will have to be made on this in the next year," Jackson said. "This is too important to stiff arm."