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Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Sept. 27, 2001 – As the Water and Power Authority board ponders whether to commit to buying $10 million worth of water and electricity annually for the next 30 years from the company selected by the government to build a waste-to-energy plant on St. Croix, questions are being raised about the project's impact on St. Thomas and St. John.
The plant, to be built and operated by Caribe Waste Technologies, is intended to put an end to dumping at the Bovoni and Anguilla landfills on St. Thomas and St. Croix, respectively. The garbage will undergo a chemical conversion process that does not involve incineration and is entirely a recycling process, according to CWT officials.
A proposal submitted to the V.I. government on June 16 by the company, Caribe Waste Technologies, calls for using the Port Authority's Red Hook facility to move garbage from St. Thomas — and, by extension, from St. John — to the plant on St. Croix.
However, Caribe Waste Technologies' local spokesman, Osbert Potter, says the company now plans to ship the waste from the Port Authority's Crown Bay facility on St. Thomas's southwestern shore. He said the change came about after CWT officials realized that the shipping operation was too large for the Red Hook facility to accommodate.
Potter said that garbage from St. John would arrive at the Bovoni landfill in the same way it does now — via trucks transported to St. Thomas by barge. Waste from the two islands would be consolidated at Bovoni into sealed 40-foot containers, which would then be trucked to Crown Bay. From there, the containers would be shipped to St. Croix on 240-foot barges owned by Caribe Waste Technologies.
The proposal calls for unloading the garbage on St. Croix at either the Gordon Finch Molasses Pier or the Port Authority pier by the former St. Croix Alumina property, depending on where the plant is to be built. Potter said CWT plans to move the waste during the overnight hours when the shipping facility sees less use. The proposal indicates it would happen from midnight to 7 a.m.
This doesn't sit well with some residents.
Doug White, a St. Thomas architect who lives in the Red Hook area, sees problems with using either the Crown Bay or the Red Hook facility. If the waste goes through Crown Bay, he said, it will have to be trucked across the island, and noise will be a factor. But if CWT plans to use the Red Hook facility, he said, Red Hook area residents will go "berserk."
"The community would be 100 percent opposed to it," White predicted. Several years ago, he said, Red Hook residents succeeded in squelching plans to use the Port Authority's Red Hook facility as a shipping point for construction materials slated for development on Hans Lollick. "The issue is noise and odor," he said.
Further, White said, if the containers are sealed, methane gas generated by the decomposing waste could cause an explosion.
A source close to the project said opting to transport the waste across the island to Crown Bay for shipping rather than shipping it from Red Hook would cost more money, because it would take more time. "Time costs money when you're trucking," the individual said.
And if that's the case, the source said, the increased expense would likely be passed on to consumers in the waste-disposal fee, called a tipping fee, to be paid by each household.
Caribe Waste Technologies officials have said the whole project hinges on WAPA's willingness to contract to buy the water and power produced. Joseph Thomas Jr., WAPA executive director, has said the utility is able to meet consumer demands on its own without buying the gasification plant output, but that it hopes "to work with CWT in whatever way it can to help solve the Virgin Islands' waste problem."
The overall Caribe Waste Technologies project will be the topic for discussion Friday at the weekly Rotary Club of St. John meeting. Michael Bornn will be the guest speaker. The meeting begins at 12:30 p.m. in the conference room at the Westin Resort.

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