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
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said via release Thursday that it has partnered with the V.I. Waste Management Authority to address certain conditions in one of the sewer lines of the Anguilla Waste Water Treatment Plant that has led to a foul odor polluting air quality on St. Croix. The foul odor, which many thought had been coming from the Limetree Bay refinery, was discovered after an EPA-installed air quality monitoring station discovered an uncovered manhole near the landfill.
The EPA and WMA "have committed to an administrative order on consent, which includes a plan of action to address certain conditions in one of the sewer lines of the Anguilla Waste Water Treatment Plant. The order on consent will improve the operation and maintenance measures undertaken by VIWMA at this sewer line, which will enhance the way that wastewater flows through the sewer line and could reduce hydrogen sulfide odors," the EPA said.
The EPA has been conducting air monitoring work on St. Croix beginning in May in response to an increase in foul odors affecting the west side of St. Croix. As part of the effort, EPA said it detected hydrogen sulfide emissions from sewer manholes in a sewer line that runs through the St. Croix Renaissance Park and the Melvin H. Evans Highway along the Anguilla sewer line.
The Anguilla sewer line as well as the manholes are a components of the Anguilla WWTP sanitary sewer system. Hydrogen sulfide is produced during bacterial growth below the water line in any sewer pipeline. In addition, sediment and debris deposited at the bottom of a sewer pipeline will contribute to the formation of hydrogen sulfide.
According to the federal agency, it has coordinated with the V.I. Dept. of Planning and Natural Resources and WMA "to determine what measures should be taken to improve maintenance of the Anguilla sewer line." The EPA’s order on consent requires the Waste Management Authority to submit to EPA a detailed plan of corrective measures that will be implemented to mitigate and address any issues at the Anguilla sewer line. In addition, WMA will conduct a comprehensive survey of the Anguilla sewer line and share its results with EPA. The authority has already started to take some of these corrective measures, the EPA said.
The order on consent focuses solely on operation and maintenance measures which WMA can implement to improve the conditions at the Anguilla sewer line, where the sewer manholes are located from which hydrogen sulfide emissions had been detected, the EPA said. It added, "This Order on Consent is not related to EPA’s work at Limetree Bay Terminals, LLC and Limetree Bay Refining, LLC."
EPA Acting Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan, stated, "This voluntary and binding compliance agreement is the result of coordination between EPA and the Virgin Islands government to address sewage pollution in environmental justice communities on St. Croix that are already disproportionately affected by environmental burdens. The Virgin Islands government has committed to comply with environmental standards to prevent and address pollution caused by defects in this sewage system.”
WMA owns and operates the Harold Thompson sanitary collection treatment system, also known as the Anguilla Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), on St. Croix. Sanitary sewer systems are designed to collect wastewater from homes and other buildings and convey it to a wastewater treatment plant. The Waste Management Authority is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the sewer lines that convey wastewater to the Anguilla WWTP.