EPA's Monitoring Station 1 is located on this hill in Estate Anguilla (gov't property), which is situated across the road from the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport's runway on the east side. By ERNICE GILBERT FOR VI CONSORTIUM
ST. CROIX — Even after a manhole located on the Anguilla estate near the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport releasing a toxic odor was covered, federal regulators continue to detect high levels of sulfide dioxide at the site, with the latest elevated reading being measured Friday morning.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, as recently as Friday morning, Estate Anguilla — where the EPA's Monitoring Station 1 is located — was releasing toxic and elevated levels of sulfide dioxide, called H2S, which prompted the EPA to notify the V.I. government. The EPA has installed five monitoring stations around the Limetree Bay facility in an effort to monitor the strong odors affecting the island, and to determine a source. Monitor Station 1 is located at Estate Anguilla near the drag racing facility, which is across the airport's runway facing east. See a map showing the monitoring stations here.
Said the EPA on Friday: "On Friday, May 28, EPA got ten-minute average readings on one of our monitors that showed a level that exceeded a threshold value set for hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which EPA refers to as a Tier 1 Action Level. All of the action levels established are based on ten-minute average concentrations. The Tier 1 Action Level for H2S is 0.01 ppm, and the highest level monitored by EPA was 0.012 ppm measured in the early hours of May 28. This 0.012 ppm level was measured at Monitor Station 1, west of the facility. The elevated levels monitored by EPA started on May 28 around 3:40 am and reduced below the Tier 1 level soon thereafter. EPA notified the Virgin Islands government and [the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry], ATSDR."
The EPA measured a similar reading on Thursday: "On Thursday, May 27, EPA got ten-minute average readings on one of our monitors that showed a level that exceeded threshold values set for hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which EPA refers to as Tier 1 and Tier 2 Action Levels. All of the action levels established are based on ten-minute average concentrations. The Tier 2 Action Level for H2S is 0.1 ppm, and the highest level monitored by EPA was 0.2 ppm measured in the early hours of May 27. This 0.2 ppm level was measured at Monitor Station 1, west of the facility. The elevated levels monitored by EPA started on May 27 around 1:00 am and the highest level was recorded at 2:38 am on May 27. EPA notified the Virgin Islands government and ATSDR," said the federal regulator.
Though the latest readings surpassed the EPA's elevated threshold, they are much lower than the readings recorded when the manhole was uncovered. During that time on May 20, the EPA used a Jerome Model J605 monitor and detected hydrogen sulfide at 3.75 ppm, and further confirmed the detection using a MultiRae monitor at the top of the manhole, measuring hydrogen sulfide at 1.1 ppm.
Governor Albert Bryan said Monday that the manhole was covered following the EPA's discovery, and since then, "the readings emitting from there have gone down, and we have had no real complaints over the weekend from there and the readings they've taken thus far show really decreased levels of [hydrogen sulfide]."
"They have closed it," the governor told the Consortium during a brief call following his Monday press event. The territory's leader further stated that the discovery of the manhole "is very significant," and said while investigations will continue, "the identification of an open manhole at the Anguilla Landfill may have solved the mysteries that was puzzling our investigatory team." Mr. Bryan said his administration would continue to work with the EPA, Limetree and other partners until affected residents of St. Croix no longer have to deal with the gaseous smells.