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EPA Completes Federal Superfund Cleanup of Warehouse in Subbase Area of Charlotte Amalie

Release Date: 11/09/1999
Contact Information:

(#99175) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responded quickly to remove a potential public health hazard at a warehouse in the Submarine Base area near Crown Bay on St. Thomas. EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox today visited the site to observe what were improperly stored chemical containers and potentially dangerous materials being removed from the warehouse and loaded onto a cargo ship, which will transport the material to the mainland for safe disposal at various licensed facilities. EPA used it's authority under the federal Superfund program to undertake this time-critical cleanup, which was triggered by the threat of hazardous chemicals being released into the environment, direct human contact with the unsafe materials, or a fire at the warehouse.

"The drum storage area of the warehouse will be completely cleared of hazards by the end of the week," said Ms. Fox, who authorized the action. "Clearly, this problem did not develop overnight; it took several years to reach this critical stage. Fortunately, through our Superfund program, we have been able to defuse the problem before it caused any harm to the community in the Subbase area. We are pleased the project went well and we were able to assist the VI government in resolving the problem."

The ship carrying the containers from the warehouse is scheduled to depart from St. Thomas on November 18, marking the end of a $500,000 federal Superfund cleanup effort at the warehouse that began last June. The VI Department of Property and Procurement actively operated the warehouse for the storage and distribution of chemicals to different agencies within the government until the late 1970s. Over the years the warehouse fell into disrepair and the materials stored inside, including several drums of waste oil, began to deteriorate.

When EPA inspected the site last April, the warehouse had no electricity, fire detection or alarm systems, and was easily accessible to the general public. At that time, EPA found approximately 100 50-pound containers of a chlorine-based oxidizer, herbicides, 300 cans of solvent-borne paint, caustics and 10 drums of unknown substances. EPA testing also revealed the possible presence of PCBs in some of the drums. All of the hazardous materials found have been repackaged for safe transport to the final disposal facilities.

For more information contact:

Jim Casey, Virgin Islands Coordinator
EPA Region 2
Federal Bldg., 3rd House
550 Veterans Drive, Room 142
St. Thomas, USVI 00802 Voice: 340-714-2333 FAX: 340-714-2331 E-Mail: casey.jim@epamail.epa.gov