March 7, 2003 – Punitive fines totaling $11,000 have been levied by the federal Environmental Protection Agency against the Public Works Department for failing to take steps to correct deficiencies at the Anguilla landfill.
The fines became effective this week. Public Works officials ignored a pending fine notice issued on Dec. 30. In January, an EPA inspector traveled to the territory, toured the Anguilla landfill and asked officials what steps they had taken to meet the terms of an administrative order reached in September 2001.
The EPA's V.I. coordinator, Jim Casey, said the $11,000 represents the daily accumulation of penalties from Oct. 7 through Dec. 16, 2002. Fines accumulated at the rate of $100 a day for the first 30 days of noncompliance and $200 a day for the next 40 days.
The federal agency determined that Public Works officials failed to show why they were not in compliance, Casey said. He said the government clearly could have taken some actions to meet deadlines set out in the consent order but did not do so.
Friday's V.I. Daily News quoted EPA spokeswoman Nina Habib Spencer as saying that more fines may be coming soon. Attempts to reach Government House and Public Works officials for comment on Friday were unsuccessful.
The federal Resource Recovery and Conservation Act sets some of the guidelines laid out in the 2001 consent order. Specifically, Public Works was to submit a plan spelling out how it would protect the groundwater under the landfill from liquid pollutants leaching into the ground as well as runoff into the Caribbean sea.
The plan, due last Oct. 7, also was to include data collected by government workers monitoring groundwater quality, a daily plan for fire prevention, and plans for mitigating underground pockets of methane resulting from decomposing trash.
The government has proposed to put together an interim bail-and-wrap system to compress trash and make it less of an attraction to scavenging birds. Federal Aviation Administration officials have said for years that birds from the landfill pose a hazard to planes landing and taking off at nearby Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
Public Works officials said recently that there have been delays in constructing a facility where the solid waste would be bailed and wrapped.

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