Nov 10, 2004 – The story is getting old, smelly and unhealthy for those who don't know what is going on.
For the fourth time since August, Wayne D. Callwood, commissioner of the Department of Public Works, is advising Christiansted residents that the department's LBJ Pump Station had difficulties and was being bypassed and sewage pumped over Long Reef. Every time the station has been bypassed an advisory has gone out to the media that the beaches in the area are unsafe for swimming. When the water is analyzed, high counts of bacteria are found. However, no signs are placed on the beaches.
Callwood said the bypass this week was due to an electrical malfunction Tuesday. The bypassing commenced at approximately 6 a.m. and ceased at 10 a.m. when the problem was resolved," said Callwood. Then, as we worked to control the flow through the station, a clamp on the auxiliary pump broke and caused a light overflow of sewage in the area around the station. This situation was also corrected in a short period of time," Callwood concluded.
In the first week of October the station was bypassed for four days as work was completed on the wastewater main.
In mid September the waste water station was bypassed because of overloads due to Tropical Depression Jeanne.
In late August the pump station suffered structural damage to its force main line and had to be bypassed.
After the October incident, Megan Shoenfelt, executive director of the St. Croix Environmental Association, urged the government to look into innovative ways to stop these problems. She advocated using wetlands in a renovated sewage system. She is not alone in her belief. A forum on Constructed Wetlands, A Sustainable and Economical Solution to Wastewater Treatment In the Caribbean will be presented at 7:30 p.m Friday at the University of Virgin Islands, cafeteria, St. Croix Campus
In a press release this week, Callwood asked residents to avoid the impacted areas and to refrain from using the north shore beaches in the vicinity of the LBJ Pump Station and the JFK Housing Community until further notice.
Long Reef runs off the shore west of Christiansted from Club St. Croix to Hibiscus beach.
For information, contact the Department of Public Works at 773-1290.
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