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EPA Proposes to Give VIWAPA Five Years to Install State-of-The Art Equipment; Requires Additional Monitoring in Meantime

Release Date: 12/13/2006
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666, cahill.richard@epa.gov

(NEW YORK, NY) The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (VIWAPA) has five years to replace existing air monitors on seven of its eight power plants with state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, according to a proposal announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). VIWAPA currently has monitors to continuously measure nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and conditions affecting the opacity of its emissions, but that equipment is not operating properly and the Virgin Islands government asked EPA for a waiver from using the monitors. EPA is proposing to give VIWAPA temporary relief from the requirement for five years and to instead require it use a combination of portable analyzers, regular tests of emissions in the stacks and visual inspections to measure compliance with pollution limits.

    “After careful consideration and an examination of scientific data and predictions of air quality, we are giving VIWAPA some time to install state-of-the-art equipment and train their staff to operate and maintain it,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “This is a temporary fix, and we fully expect VIWAPA to install the required equipment in the next five years.”

    Under its Clean Air Act permits, VIWAPA is required to run monitors that continuously monitor pollution coming out of their smoke stacks. The Clean Air Act allows the EPA to grant waivers from this requirement if the waiver will not cause a violation of federal air standards and if there are extraordinary geographic, meteorological or financial circumstances. The Governor of the Virgin Islands asked for such a waiver. The Agency determined that it could waive the requirement temporarily, as long as new monitors are installed and personnel trained within the next five years and additional measures are taken to protect public health and ensure that the Islands continue to meet health-based air quality standards.

    The Agency is taking public comment until January 12, 2007 on the proposed temporary waiver before making a final decision. For more information and/or to submit comments about EPA’s proposed decision, enter document # 0001-2280, or write to U.S. EPA Air Compliance Branch, 290 Broadway, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10007.

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