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Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Oct. 12, 2001 — Regardless of whether gasification or another technology is the method the V.I. government ultimately uses to dispose the territory’s garbage, it will have to do something in the short term on St. Croix because of the need to close the Anguilla Landfill by the end of Dec. 2002.
At a workshop hosted Thursday by the Public Works Department on St. Croix, Sonya Nelthropp, technical assistant to the department’s commissioner on waste management, said that an interim plan will include building a 18,000-square foot modular building on the grounds of the landfill to sort and handle solid waste in order to eliminate scavenging birds. Birds and smoke from landfill fires pose a threat to aircraft using the nearby Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
Because of that proximity, the Federal Aviation Administration wants the dump, which sits on V.I. Port Authority property, closed by the end of 2002. If the landfill is not closed by then or a plan to deal with its closure not in place soon, the FAA has threatened to decertify the airport and turn grants to the Port Authority for airport renovations into loans.
Public Works is also under several U.S. Environmental Protection Agency orders aimed at bringing the landfill into compliance with federal law.
"St. Croix is the thrust of our efforts right now," Nelthropp said. "It’s under the gun."
Even if the Turnbull administration does see its favored and ultimate solid waste handling facility approved – a $180 million gasification plant, obtaining the required permits and constructing the plant will take at least 30 months. That is well past the FAA closure deadline.
Because of that, Nelthropp said progress on an interim plan must begin to placate the FAA. A request for proposals for the construction and operation of the waste processing building will be issued by Public Works this week. The bid will also entail a landfill closure plan.
Nelthropp said she hopes work will proceed sometime in April.
"The building could be in place in eight or nine months," she said.
The scenario using the interim plan would see trash haulers dumping their loads at the new building. In a subsequent interview, Nelthropp said what is done with the waste will be up to the operator.
Because the aim of the plan is to stop the flow of garbage into the Anguilla Landfill, the operator will have to come up with ways to handle the waste until a permanent, integrated solid waste plan is put in place, be it gasification or some other method.
"It’s up to the contractor. They need to come to us with a plan," Nelthropp said. "There are a number of ways to deal with it. They may bail it. They may ship it out. They may store it.
"We have to leave it open because there are a lot of things that can be done," she said.
Because of the time involved to permit and construct a permanent waste handling facility, the interim plan is the "only thing we can do" to show the FAA progress is being made, Nelthropp said.
"This is a program that is accepted and will move us down the road," she said.

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