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Saturday, December 9, 2023


Following a tour of St. Croix’s Anguilla Landfill on Thursday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inspectors said they saw an improvement in operations since their last visit nine months ago.
"As compared to when we were here in April, we see a considerable improvement," said the EPA’s Philip Flax, senior enforcement team leader.
He noted that smoke from underground, methane gas-fueled, fires, was present during the last inspection, something that wasn’t apparent on Thursday. Also improved is the daily cover of soil on the face of the landfill, Flax said.
"We are seeing good source-separation of different types of waste," added the EPA’s Senior Enforcement Specialist Leonard Grossman.
The federal government has ordered the closure of the landfill by the end of 2002.
This week's inspection was carried out as the EPA, the Department of Public Works (the agency that operates the territory’s two landfills) and the V.I. Port Authority, which owns the land under the landfill, hammer out details of a draft order to comply with federal waste management laws.
EPA is taking the approach because over the last seven years the V.I. government has not adopted necessary solid-waste regulations or allocated enough funding and staff to deal with solid-waste issues. Last month, Public Works was fined $75,000 for violations at the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas.
The consent order is aimed at curbing immediate problems at the landfill, such as fires.
The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered the closure of the landfill by the end of 2002 because birds attracted to the dump are a threat to aircraft using the nearby Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
"Our goal is to see compliance with the laws of solid waste management," Grossman said. "It’s not the goal of the EPA to focus on penalties."
Acting Public Works Commissioner Wayne Callwood said the department is trying to comply with the federal mandates, albeit at a slow pace. He noted that the department had curbed the amount of tires, oil and used auto batteries brought into the landfill. And with the help of VIPA, a perimeter fence around the site will be built, as called for in the EPA order.
"It’s a little slow, but I think we’ll pick up the pace with the help of the EPA," Callwood said. "We have a lot to do to make it even better. They have given us some new deadlines so we can get all those things in place."

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