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HomeNewsArchivesINTERIOR TO BUILD WATER ISLAND FIRE STATION

INTERIOR TO BUILD WATER ISLAND FIRE STATION

Nov. 8, 2001 — U.S. Department of Interior officials are ready to move forward with plans to build a new fire station, construct a small sewage disposal system and dredge out a dock area near the Flamingo Bay section of Water Island.
The federal officials, along with St. Thomas/Water Island Administrator Louis Hill and Planning and Natural Resources Department officials, outlined the plans Wednesday afternoon at a public meeting at Honeymoon Beach on Water Island.
About 45 people attended the meeting and, speaking over the waves crashing on the white sand of the beach, discussed details of the plans. Officials of the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation are ready to put the work out for bid, and construction could begin as early as January, they said. The work will take three to six months to complete, according to Bill Beller, the field engineer for the bureau who will oversee the undertaking.
The plan is the second phase of an overall project which also included demolition of the old Sea Cliff Hotel, cleanup of hazardous materials and reconstruction of the deep-water dock at Flamingo Bay. That work was completed in 1998.
The phase now beginning calls for the demolition of eight villas within the hotel complex which were largely destroyed in hurricanes. The demolition work will leave one of the foundations intact, and that's where the new fire station will be built.
The structure will include sleeping quarters, a kitchen and an office area in addition to housing for a pumper truck, and four full-time firefighters eventually will be based at there. Firefighters have never been stationed on the island before, according to Deputy Fire Chief Ira Williams. The station will not be staffed right away, he said, because personnel needs at the Dorothea and Bordeaux fire stations have a higher priority.
The planned on-site sewage disposal system will serve four of the hotel complex villas that are currently occupied plus seven other lots that could be developed in the future, according to Reclamation Bureau plans. The system will have no effluent discharge into the environment, according to David Paul, a bureau civil engineer.
The dredging work, to allow safer passage for boats in the area, will cover an area of about 500 cubic yards in front of the deep-water dock. The silt dredged up will be used as cover for the materials taken from the demolition project.
All of the work is being undertaken as part of a plan for the Department of Interior to turn its remaining land on Water Island over to the government of the Virgin Islands. The island was transferred by Interior to the local government in the Schneider administration, but certain areas remained under federal jurisdiction.
Before the transfer of the remaining land moves forward, the U.S. Army must determine whether, because of past military activity in the area, any action is needed to bring the land up to federal Environmental Protection Agency standards, according to Edgar Johnson, the desk officer for Interior's Office of Insular Affairs, which oversees actions on federal land on Water Island.
Johnson said he did not know when the Army would be making that assessment.
At Wednesday's meeting, Water Island residents asked questions and offered comments on a wide range of issues. Among them were the need for a working cistern at the fire station, concern about the reliability of the proposed sewage system, and the need to use specialized equipment to dredge out enough silt from the area in front of the dock.

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Nov. 8, 2001 -- U.S. Department of Interior officials are ready to move forward with plans to build a new fire station, construct a small sewage disposal system and dredge out a dock area near the Flamingo Bay section of Water Island.
The federal officials, along with St. Thomas/Water Island Administrator Louis Hill and Planning and Natural Resources Department officials, outlined the plans Wednesday afternoon at a public meeting at Honeymoon Beach on Water Island.
About 45 people attended the meeting and, speaking over the waves crashing on the white sand of the beach, discussed details of the plans. Officials of the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation are ready to put the work out for bid, and construction could begin as early as January, they said. The work will take three to six months to complete, according to Bill Beller, the field engineer for the bureau who will oversee the undertaking.
The plan is the second phase of an overall project which also included demolition of the old Sea Cliff Hotel, cleanup of hazardous materials and reconstruction of the deep-water dock at Flamingo Bay. That work was completed in 1998.
The phase now beginning calls for the demolition of eight villas within the hotel complex which were largely destroyed in hurricanes. The demolition work will leave one of the foundations intact, and that's where the new fire station will be built.
The structure will include sleeping quarters, a kitchen and an office area in addition to housing for a pumper truck, and four full-time firefighters eventually will be based at there. Firefighters have never been stationed on the island before, according to Deputy Fire Chief Ira Williams. The station will not be staffed right away, he said, because personnel needs at the Dorothea and Bordeaux fire stations have a higher priority.
The planned on-site sewage disposal system will serve four of the hotel complex villas that are currently occupied plus seven other lots that could be developed in the future, according to Reclamation Bureau plans. The system will have no effluent discharge into the environment, according to David Paul, a bureau civil engineer.
The dredging work, to allow safer passage for boats in the area, will cover an area of about 500 cubic yards in front of the deep-water dock. The silt dredged up will be used as cover for the materials taken from the demolition project.
All of the work is being undertaken as part of a plan for the Department of Interior to turn its remaining land on Water Island over to the government of the Virgin Islands. The island was transferred by Interior to the local government in the Schneider administration, but certain areas remained under federal jurisdiction.
Before the transfer of the remaining land moves forward, the U.S. Army must determine whether, because of past military activity in the area, any action is needed to bring the land up to federal Environmental Protection Agency standards, according to Edgar Johnson, the desk officer for Interior's Office of Insular Affairs, which oversees actions on federal land on Water Island.
Johnson said he did not know when the Army would be making that assessment.
At Wednesday's meeting, Water Island residents asked questions and offered comments on a wide range of issues. Among them were the need for a working cistern at the fire station, concern about the reliability of the proposed sewage system, and the need to use specialized equipment to dredge out enough silt from the area in front of the dock.