June 26, 2009 — The V.I. Waste Management Authority is one step closer to closing out a decades-old consent decree with the federal government for the operation of its wastewater treatment systems, officials announced Friday.
A motion to partially terminate the agreement was recently granted in District Court, and supporting documentation highlighting improvements at the territory’s four remaining waste water treatment plants will be sent to the local Justice Department next week, WMA Executive Director May Adams Cornwall said at the WMA board’s monthly meeting on St. Thomas. After that, Justice will ask for a final termination of the decree, which was filed by the U.S. Justice Department in 1984 on behalf of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
"I don’t ever want to see another consent decree again if we can avoid it," Cornwall joked during the meeting. For the first quarter of 2009 — and for the first time in two decades — WMA reported "zero" effluent limit violations, she added.
A large portion of the meeting was spent discussing contract extensions with several companies providing services to the authority. Extensions approved by the board were based on officials’ efforts to streamline the contracting process and save the authority money as the threat of another budget cut looms on the horizon.
The extensions were approved on a month-to-month basis, giving officials more time to revise the scope of work and contract out certain services on a bulk-rate basis, which would allow the authority to pay one flat rate for things like garbage pickup. This would also cut down on the number of contracts the authority has to manage, particularly on St. Thomas, said Steve Aubin, WMA chief operations officer.
On St. John, two companies are hauling trash and equipment to the Bovoni landfill. To make the process more efficient, Aubin discussed having the companies take the bins to the Susannaberg transfer station, where the trash would be sorted and non-compactable materials taken out. The remaining trash, such as scrap metal, would then be taken to St. Thomas, reducing the number of trips between the islands.
While officials discussed going after a little more than $1 million in federal economic stimulus funds for five capital projects, board members said they were concerned about a request made by the Office of Management and Budget to have the authority cut its fiscal year 2010 budget by 10 percent, which would bring it down to about $27.3 million.
The authority had already trimmed the budget by $3 million, said board member J. Brion Morrisette.
"Clearly with a budget cut of this magnitude, we have to look at curtailing some of our services," he said. "The staff is looking at what we can cut out in terms of some of the less critical services."
Meanwhile, the board elected new officers Friday, replacing Winston Adams with Dodson James as board chairman. Glen Smith will serve as vice-chair, while Llewellyn Reed III will serve as secretary.
Morrisette will continue to head the board’s Finance Committee, while Reed will head the Operations Committee. Adams will head the Capital Projects Committee, and Smith will head the Policy Committee.
Approved by the board Thursday were:
- a proposal to fund the Youth Environmental Summer Program in an amount not to exceed $460,817;
- month-to-month extensions, for a period not to exceed eight months, in an amount not to exceed $625,000 for St. Croix roll-on-roll-off bin hauling services provided by: EDL Enterprises ($65,000), Bates Trucking & Trash Removal ($190,000), L.C. Daniel Enterprises ($40,000), Paradise Waste Systems ($160,000) and Marco St. Croix ($170,000);
- month-to-month extensions, for a period not to exceed eight months at a total cost not to exceed about $1 million, for St. Croix house-to-house collection services provided by: L.C. Daniel Enterprises ($256,000), Bates Trucking & Trash Removal ($260,000), EDL Enterprises ($256,000) and Paradise Waste Systems ($277,000);
- month-to-month contract extensions for a period not to exceed eight months at a total cost not to exceed $404,000 for St. Croix bins, carts and barrels collection services provided by: Paradise Waste Systems ($317,000), EDL Enterprises ($52,000), Paradise Waste Systems ($35,000);
- month-to-month contract extensions for a period not to exceed at months at a total cost not to exceed $244,000 for St. Thomas cubic yard bin services and house-to-house collection services provided by: Patrick Charles Enterprises;
- month-to-month contract extensions for a period not to exceed eight months at a total cost not to exceed about $1.1 million for St. Thomas roll-on-roll-off bin hauling services provided by Patrick Charles Enterprises ($491,400), Paradise Waste Systems ($232,960), H&V Trucking ($294,840) and A-9 Trucking Enterprises ($109,200);
- $335,000 for month-to-month extensions of supplemental collection service contracts up to Jan. 31, 2010 for: Bobby’s Trash Removal ($200,000 at a rate of $320 per area per day), Patrick Charles Enterprises ($70,000 at a rate of $320 per area per day), YES Inc ($85,000 at a rate of $75 per hour);
- a $66,491 payment to Apex Construction for the loading and delivery of daily cover material for the Bovoni landfill;
- a contract to HTA Caribbean in an amount not to exceed $500,000 for the provision of on-call professional engineering and environmental consulting services; and
- a $81,317 contract to Aqua Mechanics for repairs to two pumps at the LBJ and Figtree sewage pump stations on St. Croix.
The board also authorized Cornwall to enter into a contract with GEC LLC of up to $358,768 to pay for emergency repair services to the William’s Delight manhole and LBJ force main.
Board members present Friday were Adams, James, Morrisette, Darryl Smalls and Smith.