July 10, 2002 – A sewage spill in Estate Golden Grove that was the subject of a public health advisory issued on Monday was the result of grease and motor oil being improperly dumped into the sewer system, according to Public Works Department employees.
Armando Felix said the sewage system at that site collects waste from the Police Department's Patrick Sweeney Headquarters and from Golden Grove residential and commercial areas. He said a cleanup crew removed about 2,000 gallons — two truckloads — of waste from the impacted sewer line.
Fergutrax began clearing brush on Sunday to give access to the line, Felix said, and cleanup was completed by 10:30 a.m. Monday. "We had to use 2,000 pounds of water pressure to unclog the sewage line," he said Tuesday.
Victor Stephenson, Public Works utilities engineer, said Wednesday, "We are going to continuously flush out the line over the next couple of days." He said 1,500 feet of line 2.5 inches in diameter was clogged with "thick, black grease."
It's hard to believe the items that are found in the sewage system, Felix said. "People have to stop throwing their cooking oil down the kitchen sink; it clogs up the lines," he said. "We have taken out engine parts from the sewer."
Even though Public Works personnel inspect manholes throughout the territory on a weekly basis, the crews find it difficult to keep the sewage collection systems cleared of grease and motor oil, Felix said.
"We do about six to 10 manholes per day," he said, in the weekly cleaning schedule that includes Estates Mon Bijou, Welcome, Humbug, Strawberry, Golden Rock and Gallows Bay.
Last month, the V.I. government gave a status report on more than 50 sewage system problems cited in a court order issued by U.S. District Judge Thomas K. Moore last October. At that meeting, Pedro Modesto, technical enforcement officer for the Environmental Protection Agency, said he was pleased with the progress he had seen.
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