I have discovered there are three things certain in life here on St. Croix, taxes, death and sewer. Attached are some photographs I took of the Estate Smithfield Sewer Pump Station on Dec. 9. This pump station is located at the north end of the West End Salt Pond, St. Croix. As one can see it is spewing sewer water into the air and supplying the pond with it. The majority of the Pond is also a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge.
The pond started to smell like sewer in early November. Approximately 4 dozen different species of birds – waders, pelicans, etc., would feed or congregate in the pond across from Harbor Beach Village. After the heavy rains in mid-November the smell became incredibly bad, and I noticed all the birds were gone. Not just some, but all, have vacated the pond across from my observation point.
Inspecting the close-up photograph, one with some basic mechanical abilities can see that the problem doesn't seem too complicated. It looks like a broken PVC fitting.
I worked at the department of Public Works from 1981 1985; and recommended then that most services, particularly the sewer systems be contracted out (by competitive bid) to a private company, with Public Works acting as an owner / manger. An authority can do the same thing. However, an authority will only be as good as the people that make-up the board. Creating new boards seems popular with our elected officials these days. But beware, existing boards don't seem to be made up of qualified individuals and I doubt new boards will either. Until the centralized government is reorganized into local governments and the legislature reduced to seven or nine members representing seven or nine distinct districts, I do not foresee improvements occurring.
Daniel F. Coughlin, P.E.
Member – American Society of Civil Engineers
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