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HomeNewsArchivesCRUZ BAY WASTE TREATMENT PLANT NOW OFFICIAL

CRUZ BAY WASTE TREATMENT PLANT NOW OFFICIAL

Aug. 21, 2002 – Under broiling Caribbean skies, a slew of dignitaries and a couple of residents gathered on Wednesday to celebrate the completion of the Cruz Bay wastewater treatment plant at a dedication ceremony.
"This facility marks a new beginning," said Jeanne M. Kenny, Region 2 administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
She said the EPA provided $5.7 million for the project. Public Works Department engineer Mirko Restovic said that the remainder of the $8.75 million cost came from bonds floated by the Public Finance Authority.
The plant actually went on-line more than a year ago. While it put an end to most sewage overflows that had plagued the island for years, it also spurred growth in Cruz Bay and its environs, the only area of St. John hooked up to the sewage system. The rest of the island depends on septic tanks.
Before the completion of the plant, neighbors near the old plant at Pond Mouth had to endure noxious odors. And business growth in Cruz Bay was hampered because the old plant could not take on any new customers.
Kenny said the new plant, located adjacent to Enighed Pond, will help the island's economy. The project was carried out in two phases. First Misener Marine completed the ocean outfall portion. Ground was broken in July 1998 for the physical plant, built by RR Construction, with completion scheduled for 1999. There were numerous delays.
"Things always take a lot longer than planned," Restovic said after the ceremony. Ticking off challenges to getting the plant operational, he said the first was simply where to put it.
Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd said three sites were explored, with the current site, on land owned by the Port Authority, ultimately considered the best option. "Even this site was controversial," Liburd said.
Another challenge, Restovic said, was to find a design that fit on the site. Island resident Doris Jadan said the building looks like the Taj Mahal to her. But unquestionably the attractive landscaping and the architecturally interesting buildings are an improvement over the derelict cars and other debris that previously crowded the site.
The facility is managed by the St. Thomas-based VIESCO and has one-full time employee on site. VIESCO owner Tom Ryan said two or three people come over from St. Thomas when needed.
Restovic said when the governor's proposed Wastewater Management Authority gets up and running, it will be in charge of the plant instead of the Public Works Department. Assuming that comes to be, he envisions Wastewater Management Authority employees working in conjunction with a contractor to keep the facility running.
At the ceremony, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull noted that it was muy caliente, as he abandoned his prepared speech for extemporaneous remarks. He said Public Works deserved high marks for its efforts to get the new treatment plant operational. "An A or B, you decide," he said to a laughing Public Works Commissioner Wayne Callwood Jr.
Joining Callwood under the awning were several other members of the governor's cabinet and upper ranks of officialdom, along with Delegate Donna M. Christensen, Liburd and Sen. Roosevelt David.
Most of them were on a road trip of sorts, having spent the morning at a similar ceremony to dedicate the Turpentine Run Mangrove Lagoon Wastewater Plant on St. Thomas.

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