79.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeNewsLocal newsWMA Director Gives Judge Details of Anguilla Fire Damage

WMA Director Gives Judge Details of Anguilla Fire Damage

Smoke billows on Sunday afternoon from a fire at the Anguilla Landfill, adjacent to the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix. (Source photo by Susan Ellis)
Smoke billows on June 30, 2019 from a fire at the Anguilla Landfill, adjacent to the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix. (Source file photo by Susan Ellis)

The head of the Waste Management Authority told a federal judge how a nine-day landfill fire dealt a setback to the agency’s plans to close St. Croix’s Anguilla Landfill.

Under the terms of a nine-year-old settlement agreement, Anguilla was supposed to close Sept. 30, 2018.

Using photos to illustrate the story, Waste Management Director Arian Taylor explained how the fire flared up and spread through a shed housing the landfill’s solid waste compactor. It also spread through an area where vehicles used by a landfill contractor were parked, destroying three vehicles.

From there, the fire moved to an area where unprocessed abandoned vehicles sat, igniting gas tanks, and to a nearby pile of scrap tires.

Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)

Taylor said by the time emergency crews put out the blaze nine days later, exposed radials sat where the fire’s path burned through the tire pile.

Tuesday’s scheduled hearing gave District Court Judge Curtis Gomez a chance to question the director about how close Waste Management has come to closing Anguilla. After hearing Taylor’s testimony, the judge pointed to the director’s experience managing a landfill in the Pacific territory of Guam.

There were similarities in the two territory’s problems, Gomez said. Each had lingering landfill problems brought on by years of neglect and government failure to take action in a timely manner.

The judge also pressed for answers about the June fire’s impact on nearby Henry Rohlsen Airport. Taylor said the airport was affected by smoke drifting from Anguilla on a southerly wind.

Under further questioning, the director disclosed concerns expressed in a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the blaze.

When Gomez asked why the FAA was concerned about the landfill fire, Taylor replied it was because of smoke heading towards the airport.

Addressing another concern of the aviation agency, Taylor said the temporary loss of the solid waste compactor and bailer left waste to pile higher, possibly attracting scavenging birds. Taylor said his staff has already ordered replacement parts to get the damaged compactor back in operation.

Delivery and installation are expected to be done in four months, he said.

But in the midst of testimony, some encouraging developments surfaced. The director told the court a new landfill site at Estate Pearl had been identified and approved by Government House.

The new site already proved its worth by providing a place to park new Waste Management vehicles to be used in transferring materials now at Anguilla. Had it not been available, those new WMA vehicles would have also been in the path of the June fire, parked near the contractor’s equipment.

There was also testimony about a recently completed site assessment at Estate Pearl. Taylor told the court the study showed there was no groundwater detected, and while the site was near a floodplain, surveyors said any flood waters would likely run off away from the area.

But a skeptical Gomez kept pressing for answers. “If it turns out that Anguilla 2 is not ready on time, have you considered any alternatives?”

“Yes. We have been looking at shipping trash off island,” the director said.

At a projected cost of $111/ton, and given an estimated daily haul of 200 tons of solid waste, Taylor said taking that path could cost the territory $1 million.

By the end of the hearing the judge said he continued to be encouraged by Waste Management’s actions. But Gomez said the court is not willing to accept generalities about the progress being made to close the current landfill site.

He also pulled back slightly from suggesting Waste Management be placed under federal receivership, but Gomez said the scheduled hearing on Thursday about the agency’s handling of wastewater problems will play a factor in the court’s leanings.

“Is there a need for some sort of coercive corridor to make things happen? In order to achieve some sort of compliance?”

U.S. Justice Department Senior Lawyer Mark Gallager responded, “At this point, there is not going to be an ideal result. There is either going to be trash piling up on the streets or the Virgin Islands government will be spending lots of money to move trash off island,” he said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,348FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
13 hours ago
Virgin Islands Source

Juju & Cece’s Lemonades and Treats is hosting a "Freco and Lemonade" event today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cultured Naturals Body Care located on Company Street in Christiansted, St. Croix.

The business, Juju & Cece’s Lemonades, evolved from a summer project put together by 4-year-old Juliett Reid-Ventura and 3-year-old Gracie Reid-Ventura. #visource #usvi #supportlocalbusiness
... See MoreSee Less

Juju & Cece’s Lemonades and Treats is hosting a Freco and Lemonade event today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cultured Naturals Body Care  located on Company Street in Christiansted, St. Croix. 

The business, Juju & Cece’s Lemonades, evolved from a summer project put together by 4-year-old Juliett Reid-Ventura and 3-year-old Gracie Reid-Ventura. #visource #usvi #supportlocalbusiness

Comment on Facebook

Cute as a button. Darling little princess. Please protect them

Make sure they Mask 😷 up.

Loving and trusting someone is such a risk and i don't wish any woman to be in the same shoes as i was sometime back when I caught my husband red-handed with my own best friend in our own bed. I couldn't believe it when I saw it and my heart started beating so fast and felt like my body is shaking then I ran straight to my elder sister's house. I cried so much and my sister left me to cry and told me it would help ease the pain I was feeling. Then she sat me down and asked me if I still love my husband and I told her yes of course, and she told me that we all learn and grow through mistakes and no one is perfect and told me that if I wanted my man back I should fight for him and never trust friends again.My sister told me to contact profisma+27783320386 who had helped her husband with financial issues and told me he will help me bring my man back. It took me weeks to think about it because we come from a strong religious background but things worsened because I could not even concentrate at work and i got fired, and after that, i remembered what my sister had told me about consulting with him. That's when I contacted him and told everything, he listened, and told me that he will solve all my problems in 48 hrs. Since it was my first time doing this, i could not believe his words just like that but i had to wait until the time he had promised. I was asked to buy materials to help me which I did, we begun the prayer and results were delivered in three days. My husband called me and asked me where I was, and he came straight to me and confessed how my best friend seduced him, and he was sorry to fall into her trap and showed me all the messages my best friend was sending to him and promised never to see her again and promised to love me and only me. That evening he took me to a romantic dinner, Since prophet isma helped me, I got a better paying job than the previous one, my husband is back to the old man I used to know and he loves me so much and does everything to see that am happy. Thank you so much prophet, your spells indeed work. If you're going through struggles, you can text him on WhatsApp +27783320386 or call him

Load more
Print Friendly, PDF & Email