Feb. 28, 2004 – Dredging at the Enighed Pond commercial port project on St. John is on hold until American Bridge Co., working under contract with the V.I. Port Authority, fixes a pump that broke during the past week. Dredging had stopped on Tuesday when the material coming up in the dredge developed a foul odor. Work should resume this coming week.
"The smell's noticeable, but not awful," Elaine Penn, who lives near Enighed Pond, said. The smell got more continuous as the week progressed, she added.
Commissioner of Planning and Natural Resources Department Dean Plaskett said in a news release issued late Friday that the odor comes from the pond floor. He said that Enighed Pond once served as the spot to deposit sludge and sewage from the old treatment plant, which was demolished when a new plant opened in several years ago.
Plaskett said that the odor does not come from broken sewage lines or current waste discharge.
A source close to the project said, however, that old sewage was only part of the odor problem. The peat-like organic material coming up from the bottom of the pond develops an odor when it hits the air, the source said.
"Most salt ponds smell exactly the same way when they dry up," he said.
The source said that American Bridge has attempted to solve the problem by relocating the sediment discharge line to the north end of the pond, removing the diffuser from the discharge line and repositioning the float on the discharge line to prevent the release of sediment sprays across the surface of the water. But the company won't know if that is successful until they can start pumping again.
No one at the Port Authority or American Bridge could be reached for comment.
The project calls for filling about 4.5 acres by dredging the pond to 14 feet and by dredging an entrance channel in Turner Bay to a depth of 18 feet, the DPNR release said. (See Enighed port targeted for July 2004 completion for details and a site plan.)
Work on the dredging phase of the project is expected to continue until June.
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