Home News Local news Ground at LBJ Housing Community Contaminated with Raw Sewage

Ground at LBJ Housing Community Contaminated with Raw Sewage


Jan. 7, 2008 — Avoid exposure to standing water around the LBJ Garden Housing Community, because raw sewage is percolating up through the ground.
The Department of Planning and Natural Resources issued a news release Monday saying its Division of Environmental Protection has received reports the LBJ force main has failed yet again. The failed section of pipe is at the entrance to community on St. Croix.
As a result of the pipe failure, raw sewage is entering an adjacent gut, leading into Christiansted Harbor east of Condo Row. Also, two manholes between buildings 30 and 31 in the JFK Housing Community are overflowing onto the ground and into nearby stormwater drains.
DPNR advises children and adults with compromised immune systems to avoid these areas, especially around JFK buildings 30 and 31. Standing or running water in these areas may be contaminated and hazardous to health.
One week ago, there was another, similar break. (See "Alert: Avoid Standing Water at JFK, LBJ Housing." and "Alert: LBJ Pump Station Sewer Line Repaired.")
Similar structural failures have occurred repeatedly, dating back to at least 1999. Force main failures — meaning the failure of a sewer line that periodically gets pumped out — occurred in August 2007, June 2006, May 2006, April 2006, August 2004, August 2003 and August 1999. Pumps and other pump-station machinery failed in November 2004, March 2003, January 2001, August 2000 and June 2000. This list may not be complete. Similar failures also occurred prior to 1999, before Source records begin.
In each structural failure, residents of the housing community have been advised to avoid standing water because of water contamination by raw sewage. In most instances, the sewage has been diverted and pumped into the sea over Long Reef during repairs.
In many instances, the pipes that fail are old ductile iron, placed many decades ago. The saline conditions of the groundwater have made them porous and weak. As each pipe section fails, a section is replaced with a heavy-duty PVC-type pipe called c900. Waste Management Authority officials have said in the past that as more and more sections are replaced, the problems should taper off and eventually end. Meanwhile, residents of LBJ and surrounding areas continue to be exposed to water contaminated with raw sewage.
For more information, DPNR says to contact the V.I. Waste Management Authority at 773-1082.
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