The V.I. Waste Management Authority approved a memorandum of understanding with the Public Finance Authority to fund $3.1 million in court ordered projects at the territory’s landfills during its regular meeting Tuesday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration are seeking the closure of the landfills.
The EPA filed suit years ago and the VIWMA has entered a court-mandated consent decree. According the consent decree, the target date for Anguilla is June 30, 2020.
The Bovoni consent decree doesn’t indicate a specific date but notes it must be closed two years and two months after it stops accepting waste on April 30, 2019.
The work to be funded through PFA borrowing includes moving a number of V.I. Water and Power Authority poles, changing an access road and purchasing a high-volume tire shredder, officials said during recent Senate hearings.
In March 2016, the EPA sought $2.5 million for noncompliance, and penalties are continuing to accrue at the rate of $4,500 per day. So far the court has not decided on whether to impose the penalties and is more interested in seeing progress than issuing fines, Department of Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Dawn Henry said during a Senate hearing in September.
The tire shredder, pole changes and road access changes are among the projects mandated by the court.
Closing the landfills was projected in April 2015 to cost more than $75 million but the costs increase the longer it is delayed. Closing them will require an alternative way of disposing of trash. The administration of Gov. Kenneth Mapp is hoping to extend the lives of the landfills by implementing a plastic bag ban, bottle deposit law and comprehensive recycling plan.
The VIWMA’s board of directors met in the conference room at the Department of Public Works on St. Croix. Present were Chair Harith Wickrema, member Norbert Rosado, Secretary LaToya Williams, Public Works Commissioner Gustav James and Fire Services Director Clifford Joseph.
While Acting Executive Director Steven Aubin is on personal leave, Ann Hanley, the acting chief operating officer, is taking on Aubin’s role until his return.
Hanley gave a status update on VIWMA’s pending fee initiatives, including the delayed implementation of tipping fees, pending implementation of special waste fees, the recent submittal of the VIWMA’s wastewater septage fee proposal to the Public Service Commission, and other pending PSC applications.
The VIWMA plans to submit a proposals to the PSC to request an increase of wastewater user fee and to request authorization to institute residential solid waste disposal fees, according to a statement from the authority. A recycling feasibility study, a status update on the Bovoni Pump Station, and a report on division activities and projects were also discussed.