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Regarding Raw Sewage By-Passes on St. Croix; Statement by William J. Muszynski, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Deputy Regional Administrator

Release Date: 02/09/2000
Contact Information:
(#00029) U.S. Virgin Islands -- "The environmental and human health risks posed by the continuous discharge of raw sewage from the LBJ and Fig Tree Pump Stations and the Bethlehem sewer trunk are not acceptable to EPA. To ensure this problem is stopped, Department of Justice filed papers on February 7, in Federal Court, on behalf of EPA, asking a Judge to order The Virgin Islands Department of Public Works to immediately cease unlawful by-passes of raw sewage in violation of the Clean Water Act. If the Judge grants EPA's request, Public Works will be ordered by the Court to repair the LBJ Pump Station and eliminate the discharge of 1.3 million gallons per day of raw sewage currently being discharged off Long Point Reef and backing up in the streets of Christiansted. In addition, the order would compel Public Works to finish repair work at Fig Tree and repair the break in the Bethlehem Interceptor. The requested Order would also require all necessary repairs to the St. Croix Wastewater Treatment Plant to ensure that the sewage from the pump stations and interceptor receive proper treatment."

"This filing was the latest in a series of actions that EPA has taken to halt these raw sewage discharges. For many months, EPA and the Virgin Islands Department of Natural Resources have been working together to get the Department of Public Works to stop raw sewage being illegally discharged to the ocean from pump stations and overflowing sewers on St. Croix. EPA and the Department of Justice successfully petitioned the Federal Court to allow Public Works to temporarily use funds set aside from an ongoing enforcement case to stop these raw sewage discharges. EPA has also lent technical expertise to the Department of Public Works, including arranging for a visit by technical experts from the New Jersey Water Environment Association, who are currently in the Virgin Islands to assist Department Public Works in improving the operational management of their wastewater infrastructure. While EPA will continue to do everything we can to assist the Department of Natural Resources and Department Public Works in addressing this critical problem, these discharges must be stopped."