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Sunday, December 3, 2023


The V.I. government has paid a $5,000 penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to provide required drinking water reports to public housing residents.
Under a settlement with the EPA, the V.I. Department of Housing, Parks and Recreation paid the fine and distributed all the required reports, which give consumers information about the quality of water they drink. In addition to Housing, Parks and Recreation, the EPA issued complaints against the Bureau of Corrections, Human Services and the Department of Health. Several condominium complexes on St. Croix and St. Thomas were also cited.
"I would encourage the other systems that receive EPA complaints to do their reports and to settle with us," said Jeanne Fox, EPA’s regional administrator. "If they do their reports and settle quickly, we will reduce fines. If they do not cooperate, they will face considerably stiffer fines."
Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, annual reports must be completed for all public drinking water supplies. The reports must, among other things, identify the source of the drinking water, summarize the system’s susceptibility to contamination, show the level of any contamination found, identify the source and potential health effects and describe how the contaminant was reduced to a safe level.
Operators of systems serving more than 10,000 people must mail a report directly to consumers and make them available on the Internet. Operators with systems serving between 500 and 10,000 people must make reports available upon request and publish them in a local newspaper. Operators of systems with fewer than 500 customers must inform them about the report and make it available upon request, according to the EPA.
The first reports under the law were due in October 1999; subsequent reports are due by July 1 of each year.
Along with the local government, the EPA issued complaints against the following condominiums, townhouses and apartments: Long Reef, Little Reef and Pelican Cove condos, the Questa Verde Townhouses and Cruz Bay Apartments on St. Croix and the Fairway Village condos on St Thomas.
If those properties fail to file their Consumer Confidence Reports, fines of up to $5,000 per report are possible. In some cases, several reports are required because several buildings or systems are involved, said Fox.
Fox said the EPA is enforcing the requirements until the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources receives authority to enforce the federal rules itself.

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