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St. Thomas/St. John District Office
Division of Environmental Protection
Department of Planning & Natural Resources
Cyril E. King Airport, 2nd Floor
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Phone: (340) 774-3320
Fax: (340) 714-9549
St. Croix District Office
Division of Environmental Protection
Department of Planning & Natural Resources
45 Mars Hill
Frederiksted, VI 00840-3775
Phone: (340) 773-1082
Fax: (340) 773-9310
For additional information, please visit us on the Internet at www.dpnr.gov.vi, contact the DPNR/DEP
Educational Officer at (340) 774-3320, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Special Thanks & Appreciation
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Table of Contents
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Business & Society
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Goals & Opportunities
GOENO'M MESS AGE
The beauty of the United States Virgin Islands is rivaled only by the immense
beauty of our culture and people. With a rich history dating back to 300
A.D., the islands have a unique and diverse mixture of culture, history and
charm. Attracting millions of tourists who return each year to relish our
brilliant sunshine, deep blue seas, beautiful beaches, world-class
accommodations and attractions and other natural resources, the islands
remain the stalwart of Caribbean tourism.
As governor, I have spearheaded governmental efforts to attract and support
growing businesses, which further strengthen the Territorial economy. We
have marketed each island with its unique qualities to attract tourists who
can enjoy the pristine environment of the Virgin Islands.
Moreover, the cornerstone of growth and development in the Virgin Islands -
education remains as one of the most significant concerns of this
government. I continue to support all initiatives that support the educational
pursuits of our young people. By focusing on major issues and our goals, we
will progress into the new century with clear direction. This report provides a
baseline from which we can assess our progress. I thank those who
participated in the preparation of the 2004 State of the Environment Report.
Your hard work and dedication are truly appreciated.
May God bless the United States of America, the Virgin Islands and all of us.
Honorable Charles Turnbull, PhD
Governor, United States Virgin Islands
As we enter into this fourth year of the new millennium, it is with great pride
that I announce that the Department of Planning and Natural Resources
(DPNR), Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) has embarked upon a
new initiative to further implement policies and practices that educate our
people and visitors about our most precious resources and enhance our
daily life. The Division of Environmental Protection is unwavering in its
mission of emphasizing the importance of protecting and conserving the
natural resources of the Territory.
Realizing the need to create a platform that would serve as an instrument to
effectively measure development and/or decline of the environment while
informing the general public now and for many years to come, DPNR/DEP
initiated the "State of the Environment Report". This report is the first of its
kind for the Department and the Territory. It is comprised of an extensive
scope of past, present and projected environmental objectives from various
local and mainland government agencies, industries and other organizations
and cooperating entities.
I wish to thank and commend those agencies that provided the necessary
information and supported this extremely important initiative. Your support
has enabled the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Division of
Environmental Protection to continue to carryout its mandate and to be the
vanguard for our environment.
Dean C. Plaskett, Esq., Commissioner
Department of Planning & Natural Resources
DIISO OF ENVIRONMENT PRTETON
To protect human health and preserve the quality of USVI air, land and water
for use and enjoyment today and in the future.
The Division of Environment Protection envisions a future for USVI citizens
wherein the quality of life is enhanced by the quality of their environment. We
will assess, sustain, preserve and enhance environmental qualities in
partnership with communities and businesses, and in concert with the
economic vitality of the Territory.
Thank you for taking this opportunity to read and support
our 2004 State of the Environment Report. We are proud to
present this accumulation of environmental information as
we work toward developing facts and trends to effectively
measure the current and future progress of our
The Division of Environmental Protection, along with other
divisions of the DPNR and the USVI Government, is working
tirelessly to develop, maintain and promote programs that
ensure the health, protection and sustainability of our
breathtakingly beautiful environment for generations to
We are intensifying our information management efforts and
developing real-time and historical environmental databases
that assist us in analyzing and measuring current and
projected environmental trends and progress. This
information provides an invaluable resource for
environmental planning. It also serves as a catalyst in the
development of business and technical strategies for greater
protection and preservation of the natural resources of the
Accomplishing these goals is a challenging responsibility that
depends on the participation of our entire community-
citizens, businesses, government and visitors alike.
The entire staff of the Division of Environment Protection
extends its sincere thanks to all who have played a vital role
in this consequential mission of protecting and enhancing
the environment by complying with USVI and federal
environmental regulations, program development and
With this report, we hope to provide a greater understanding
of the state of environmental affairs in the United States
Virgin Islands, and of the progress made by citizens,
regulated business and industry, the Department of Planning
and Natural Resources and other organizations, both public
and private sector.
Employees of the Division of Environmental Protection
Department of Planning & Natural Resources
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One of the most astonishing views for residents and visitors alike
are the beautiful clear skies of the United States Virgin Islands.
Blessed by cooling trade winds, picturesque scenery and old-
world charm, the United States Virgin Islands enjoy some of the
clearest and cleanest skies in the nation.
Rich scents of oleander, bougainvillea, ginger and an almost
endless variety of orchids permeate the United States Virgin
Islands' countryside with a sweetness matched only by the sights
and sounds of children at play.
Despite the natural beauty and clarity of its atmosphere,
maintaining safe air quality levels in the United States Virgin
Islands is an ongoing mission.
There are many sides, sites and scents of the United States Virgin
Islands...from beautiful open spaces and coastal shores, hills and
lush vegetation, residential and farming areas, bustling retail and
business hubs, manufacturing and other industrial sites, ground
and air transportation to various maritime trades.
Clean, safe air is very important to life and society in the United
States Virgin Islands (USVI).
Significance of Clean Air
Air pollutants can damage the respiratory system and cause
illness to other areas of the body. As an example, exposure to air
pollutants can cause itchy eyes, rashes and other conditions of
the skin, coughing, chest pain and throat irritation. Some
cancers, birth defects, brain and nerve diseases and long-term
injury to the lungs and breathing passages have also been
associated with air pollution. Certain air pollutants are so
dangerous, in fact, that accidental releases can result in serious
injury or even death.
Air pollution can also damage the environment. Trees, lakes,
ponds and other waterways are all susceptible to air pollution.
Air pollutants have thinned the protective ozone layer above the
earth, triggering changes in the environment and health concerns
in people and animals alike.
Scenes from a Restored Wall Mural Significance of Clean Air
in Frederiksted, St. Croix
Air pollution can also damage property. It can dirty buildings
and other structures. Some common pollutants erode stone,
damaging buildings, monuments, statues and outdoor murals.
Air pollution can cause smog and haze, reducing visibility on
roads and in national parks, and it sometimes interferes with
Sources of air pollution can generally be categorized into groups,
including but not limited to:
Cars & Motorcycles
Trucks, Buses, Trains, etc.
Aircraft & Other Aviation Machinery
S, Construction Equipment
Lawn & Garden Equipment
Marine Vessels, etc.
Major Sources/Major Point Sources
Chemical Plants & Manufacturing Factories
Hazardous Waste Incinerators
Oil Refineries & Power Plants (Water, Electricity, Gas, etc.)
Sewage & Waste Water Treatment Plants
Landfills/Other Waste Disposal/Processing Sites, etc.
Area and Other Sources
Agricultural & Light Industrial Operations
Auto Body & Repair Shops, Gasoline Stations
Bakeries & Dry Cleaners
Paints & Other Surface Coatings
Pesticide Application, etc.
"Major" sources are defined as sources that emit or have the potential to emit 10 tons per
year of any of the listed hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), or 25 tons per year of a mixture of
"Point" sources are characterized as stationary facilities or processes that emit a significant
amount of air pollution such as can be found during manufacturing, power generation,
heating, incineration or other major source activities.
"Area" sources are defined as pollution sources that emit or have the potential to emit less
than 10 tons per year of a single hazardous air pollut-ant (HAP), or less than 25 tons per year
of a combination of air pollutants. Area sources typically consist of smaller-size facilities or
Refurbished 1948 and 1975 small emission sources that release lesser quantities of toxic pollutants into the air than major
Sponsored by the St. Croix Art Council sources do. While area pollution sources may not contribute large amounts of pollution
individually, collectively, their emissions can be of concern, particularly when a large number
of area sources are located within highly populated communities. Air pollution sources also
include naturally occurring events such as volcanic eruptions and wind blown dusts.
Clean Air Laws
The nation's first air pollution laws were established in 1977. To more adequately address air pollution and air quality concerns,
the clean air laws of 1977 were substantially broadened through the enactment of the 1990 Clean Air Act.
A federal law applying to all states and territories in the nation, the 1990 Clean Air Act requires the US Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment.
Pursuant to this requirement, the EPA has set ambient air quality standards for six of the most common pollutants (referred to as
P o -l utatsDmage
Ozone (03) Ground
level ozone is the
of smog. Volatile
and NOx combine in
the atmosphere to
Chemical reaction of pollutants;
volatile organic compounds
(VOCs) and NOx. VOCs are re-
leased from burning fuel (gaso-
line, oil, wood coal, natural gas,
etc.), solvents, paints, glues and
other products used at work or at
home. Transportation vehicles are
a major source of VOCs. NOx is
the sum of nitric oxide and
Breathing problems, reduced lung
function, asthma, eye irritation,
stuffy nose, reduced resistance to
colds and other infections. May
speed up aging of lung tissue and
cause permanent lung damage
with chronic exposure. Many
VOCs are also hazardous air
pollutants and can cause serious
problems such as cancer and
other major health effects.
Ozone can damage plants and
trees; smog can cause reduced
Carbon Monoxide Burning of gasoline, diesel, natural Reduces ability of blood to bring
(CO) is a colorless, gas, coal, oil, etc. oxygen to body cells and tissues;
odorless, tasteless gas cells and tissues need oxygen to
that is formed in large work. Carbon monoxide may be
part by the incomplete particularly hazardous to people
combustion or burning who have heart or circulatory
of fuel. (blood vessel) problems and to
people who have damaged lungs
or breathing passages.
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is Burning of coal, diesel and oil, Breathing problems; may cause SO2 is an element in acid rain Acid aerosols can eat
a gas that is released especially high-sulfur coal from the permanent damage to lungs. (acid aerosols) that can damage away stone used on or
when fossil fuels are Eastern United States; industrial trees and lakes. Acid aerosols can in the construction of
burned, processes (paper, metals). also reduce visibility. SO2 can also buildings, statues,
react with other chemicals in the monuments, etc.
air to form particulate matter.
Nitrogen Dioxide Burning of gasoline, diesel, natural Lung damage, illnesses of the NO2 is an ingredient in acid rain Aerosols can eat away
(NO2) is a gas that is gas, coal, oil, etc. Cars are an breathing passages and lungs (acid aerosols). It can damage stone used on or in the
released when fossil important source of NO. (respiratory system). trees and lakes and reduce construction of
fuels are burned. It is visibility. NO2 can also react with buildings, statues,
one of the NOx. other chemicals in the air to form monuments, etc.
Lead (Pb) has been Leaded gasoline (being phased Brain and other nervous system Lead can harm fish and other
greatly reduced nation out), paint (houses, cars), smelters damage; children are at special marine animals and wildlife.
-wide. However, (metal refineries); manufacture of risk. Some lead-containing
because of its persis- lead storage batteries, chemicals cause cancer in
tence in the environ- animals. Lead causes digestive
ment, it continues to and other health problems and
pose a potential public affects blood and blood pressure.
Particulate Matter Burning of wood, diesel and other Nose and throat irritation, lung Particulates are the main source of Can dirty and discolor
(PMio & PM2 ) fuels; industrial plants; agriculture damage, bronchitis, cardiovascu- haze that reduces visibility, structures, other
includes ash, soot, (plowing, burning off fields); lar stress, exacerbation of respira- property, clothes,
dust, fog, fumes, etc. unpaved roads, tory diseases (such as asthma and furniture, etc.
emphysema) and early death.
Clean Air Laws
There are two types of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS): primary and secondary. Primary standards set limits to
protect public health, including the health of "sensitive" populations such as asthmatics, children and the elderly. Secondary
standards set limits to protect public welfare, including protection against decreased visibility, and damage to animals, crops,
vegetation, buildings and other property and ecological resources
Under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the EPA has determined an allowable/maximum ambient limit for each criteria
pollutant. Cities, communities and other geographic areas that exceed a standard a specified number of times may cause the
entire area to be in violation. This is known as being in nonattainment. A geographic area that meets or performs better than
NAAQS is called an attainment area.
24-Hour 150.00 mg/m'
Annual 50.00 mg/m3
P,- Fn Ptulae H60mm
N 'ta ter Annual 15.00 mHg/m 3 15.00 mg/m 3^^^
ppm = parts per million
mg/m3 = micrograms per cubic meter of air
1. Not to be at or above this level more than 3 days
over 3 years. The 1 -hour ozone standard is being
2. Average of yearly fourth highest 8-hour ozone level
over 3 years not to be at or above this level.
3. Not to be at or above this level more than once per
4. Not to be at or above this level.
5. Three-year average of the 99th percentile of
concentrations not to be at or above this level.
6. Three-year average not to be at or above this level.
7. Three-year average of the 98th percentile of
concentrations not to be at or above this level.
The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to regulate hazardous air pollutants based on a published list of pollutants and pollution source
categories. 2Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) are those pollutants that cause or may cause serious health effects or adverse effects
to the environment. The EPA has currently identified 188 HAPs. Examples of hazardous air pollutants, or HAPs, include benzene
(found in gasoline); perchlorethlyene (emitted from some dry cleaning facilities); and methylene chloride, which is used as a solvent
and paint stripper by a number of industries. As provided by law, the Clean Air Act list can be modified by the EPA.
Although the Clean Air Act is a national law, states and territories do much of the work to carry out the Act. In fact, various state
rules and regulations have been promulgated to ensure adequate implementation and enforcement of Clean Air Act requirements
on a local level.
The 1 -hour standard applies only to communities that did not meet the 1-hour standard when the 8-hour standard was adopted in July 1997.
Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) are also referred to as toxic air pollutants or air toxics.
Criteria Averaging NAAQS Valve
Pollutant Period Primary I Secondary
USVI Action, Activity & Authority
The Division of Environmental Protection (DEP), an operating unit of the
Department of Planning & Natural Resources (DPNR), provides regulatory
oversight and has authority to implement and enforce air pollution and
air quality requirements in the USVI. This includes laws and requirements
under Title V of the Clean Air Act, as well as the Virgin Islands Air
Pollution Control Act Rules and Regulations (VR&R) (i.e., Title 12, Virgin
Islands Code, Chapter 9 and the 1995 Rules and Regulations of the
Virgin Islands Air Pollution Control Act).
Under the auspices of its Air Pollution Control Program (APC), the DEP is
responsible for the following:
Air Quality Monitoring Weekly particulate matter samples are
collected from five monitoring stations in the Territory. The local refinery, HOVENSA, LLC, conducts sulfur dioxide monitoring.
Compliance Monitoring -Annual or more frequent inspections of regulated facilities are conducted to monitor and determine
compliance. DEP also relies on citizen complaints to help identify sources that are not in compliance with local and/or federal laws.
Permitting Before a regulated entity can construct, install, erect or operate an air pollution emission source, an "Authority to
Construct Permit" and a "Permit to Operate" must be obtained from DEP's APC Program. In general, emission sources that are
subject to Title V of the Clean Air Act are classified and referred to as major air pollution sources based on their annual emission
levels. However, some pollution sources are subject to Title V based on recent federal requirements, regardless of their emission
Based on the regulatory requirements imposed on operations at major air pollution sources, the Title V Operating Permit Program is
a comprehensive, high-profile program. Permit application processing for major sources is labor-intensive, requiring administrative
and technical reviews as well as site assessments, public participation and mandatory public hearings.
The DEP has identified eleven (11) Title V facilities with multiple sources of emissions. The DEP has issued four (4) five-year
operating permits to these sources. Six (6) additional permits are pending, with issuance anticipated by yearend 2004. At present,
there are more that 525 minor source permits on record in the USVI.
Enforcement The APC Program utilizes at least four (4) enforcement mechanisms in order to bring sources into compliance,
including notices of violation, cease-and-desist orders, notices of deficiencies and notices of non-compliance. In most cases,
administrative orders are issued.
Quality Assurance To ensure the integrity of ambient air quality monitoring networks, the APC Program participates in various
self-monitoring activities, including quarterly audits by the DEP Quality Assurance Program Coordinator and equipment flow checks.
In addition, the EPA conducts quarterly audits of the DEP's state and local air monitoring stations (SLAMS) network to evaluate the
performance of monitoring equipment and DEP's proficiency in the implementation of the EPA-approved Quality Assurance Project
Plan (QAPP) and associated standard operating procedures.
Air Quality in the USVI
Administered and managed by the DEP's Air Pollution Control Program, ambient air quality monitoring has taken place in the USVI
since the 1970's. At various stations around the Territory, ambient air quality is monitored for three criteria pollutants:
1. Particulate Matter PM1o, 10 micrometers or less
3. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
2. Particulate Matter PM2.s, 2 1/2 micrometers or less
Although not shown on the map below, sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions are conducted in St. Croix at monitoring stations operated by
HOVENSA, a local oil refinery. Ozone levels are monitored on the island of St. John by the Virgin Islands National Parks.
3Emission levels for air pollutants currently monitored in the USVI have increased slightly over the past five years, but remain well
below regulatory limits. Increases in emission readings are primarily attributed to Sahara and other dusts blown into the Territory by
high trade winds, occasional ash from volcanic activity on the Island of Montserrat (UK) and vehicle emissions, which are gradually
increasing due to the number of vehicles and road traffic. Intermittent increases in air pollution emissions have also been
associated with various industrial plant sources, both large and small.
In partnership with the EPA, monitoring of local air quality is being expanded to cover air pollutants not currently monitored.
Utilizing a phased-in approach, the intent of this endeavor is to increase the USVI's identification and inventory of local air
pollutants and emission sources. This will result in improved air quality control, oversight of emission sources and increased
Expanded air quality monitoring will also bring the USVI closer to par with monitoring activities of US states. In addition, it will allow
the USVI to participate in National Toxic Inventories (data banks), emission comparisons, and toxic trend and benchmarking
projects on a real-time basis.
Except for very limited but occasional increases in particulate matter, ambient air quality in the Virgin Islands has not exceeded safe levels as defined by the 1990 Clean Air
Act. All areas of the USVI attain national air quality standards.
St. Croix Stations
0 3 6 9 Miles
O PMio FAA Emergency Pump Station, Est. Mannings Bay
O PMio Bethlehem Village Housing
* PM2.5 Bethlehem Village Housing
St. Thomas Stations
0 3 6 Miles
O PMio Water Front & Emancipation Garden
O PMio Thomas Cyril E. King Airport
* PM2.5 Thomas Post Office, Estate Thomas
Air Quality Monitoring
The Air Pollution Control Unit
of DPNR/DEP strives to protect
and improve the environment
and public health by planning
and implementing strategies
that control sources of air
pollution in the US Virgin
Islands, today and into the
Through air quality monitoring
and analytical efforts, ongoing
regulatory activities and
through coordination and col-
laboration with other territorial
and federal agencies, APC
works to ensure clean, safe
and improved air quality in the
US Virgin Islands.
Top Left PM10 filter cartridge
Top Middle Handheld
manometer in use at the Cyril
E. King Airport PMio site.
Top Right Local Rock
Quarry: A source of
particulate matter emissions.
Bottom Air Inspector sets up
PM2.5 monitor for 24-hour run
Air Quality in the USVI
Since 1988, the US EPA has prepared a National Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) that provides information on toxic releases by
individual facilities, power plants and other sources. The following table shows toxic emission trends for various states, along with
estimates produced for the USVI.
2001 Toxics Release Inventory for Select States
US VIRGIN ISLANDS
Source: Environmental Protection Agency, 2001 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), query
run on TRI Explorer available at http://www.epa.gov/triexployer. Includes industries
from SIC Code 20 39.
The USVI is also developing a more complete air toxics inventory, which will include estimates of toxic air emissions from
transportation and small emission sources.
Major Challenges To USVI Clean Air
1. Air Quality Monitoring. The USVI must remain an
attainment area for all primary pollutants. To improve
and preserve air quality, protect the environment and the
health and safety of all living things, increased
monitoring efforts, including monitoring of the nation's
six most common air pollutants (criteria pollutants),
"We cannot fully and appropriately manage what we do
not identify and measure." To this end, the Air Pollution
Control Program is broadening its air monitoring
program, striving to more actively manage USVI air
quality. These challenges and opportunities are being
achieved by working closely with national and local
government, industry and communities to promote
compliance with air quality permits and regulations,
through proactive prevention of air quality violations, and
the reduction of air pollution emissions at the source.
The Air Pollution Control Program is targeting prevention
efforts that address emerging odor, smoke and toxic
emission issues. Preventing air quality problems will
provide the Territory with greater flexibility in managing its
air quality and, thereby, in protecting public health and
2. Motor Engine Emissions. While a benefit to the
economy and to the quality of life in the USVI, the
increased number and use of "on-road and off-road"
motor vehicles, as well as other fuel-burning engines,
are a health and safety concern for the Territory's
community. Motor emissions harm and injure people
and animals, damage plant life, land, water and building
structures, and cause haze and smog, reducing air and
Presently, the USVI does not have a vehicle emissions
testing requirement or program. However, a vehicle
emissions testing program and rules and regulations are
being developed. The program is expected to be
implemented by the latter part of fiscal year 2005.
What Can You Do To Improve Air Quality?
* Drive Less. Collectively, automobiles are the Territory's
largest cause of air pollution. When shopping for a new car,
look for fuel-efficient and low-emitting models.
* Conserve Energy. Almost all of the energy we use comes
from the burning of fuel, whether in our cars, in our homes or
at the power plant that supplies electricity to our homes. The
more efficiently we use energy, the less pollution we create.
Turn off unneeded lights, use a fan instead of an air
conditioner whenever possible and consider energy efficiency
when purchasing new appliances.
* Maintain Your Car Properly. Keep your car tuned and keep
your tires properly inflated. You will get better gas mileage
and you'll reduce fuel waste in the process.
* Delay Yard Chores. Mow your lawn less often. Consider
using electric garden tools rather than gas-powered ones.
They produce far less pollution and are quieter.
* Use Products That Pollute Less. The volatile organic
compounds (VOCs) found in consumer products such as
paints and household cleaners quickly evaporate and
contribute to ozone pollution. Substitute water-based
products whenever possible.
*Do not exercise outside on days when air quality is unhealthful, especially
sunny, hot summer afternoons.
1983 -2002 Carbon Dioxide Emissions (Nationwide)
l Industrial processes
1983-02: 41% Decrease
1993-02: 21% Decrease
Source: Environmental Protection Agency, 2002 EPA National Air Pollutant
Emissions Trends Report Highlights (http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/
-*** ; -
Part of the Lesser Antilles chain of islands in the West Indies, the '
United States Virgin Islands are located east of Puerto Rico,
between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean,
approximately 1,400 miles southeast of Miami.
Surrounded by crystal clear blue waters, the United States Virgin
Islands consists of three (3) major islands and over 50 islets,
most of which are uninhabited. Home to more than 108,000
residents, each of the three major islands has a unique
structure. Major business industries include tourism, petroleum
refining, construction, water and power generation and various
manufacturing operations, including watch assembly, rum
distilling, pharmaceuticals, textiles and electronics.
The most densely populated island, St. Thomas, measures 32
square miles and is the location of the USVI's capital city of
Charlotte Amalie. St. Thomas has one of the best and most
beautiful natural deep water harbors in the Caribbean. In
addition, it holds the distinction of being one of the
Caribbean's most frequently visited ports.
St. John measures 19 square miles, of which two-thirds are a
national park. It possesses some of the most breathtaking
aerial, land and shoreline views in the world. The geography of
both St. Thomas and St. John primarily consists of steep hills
and mountains, with lush vegetated valleys and gorges that
slope to the shoreline.
St. Croix, the largest landmass of the USVI, measures in at
approximately 84 square miles. Comprised of soft rolling
green hills, mild basins and stretches of flat land, St. Croix is
the USVI's agricultural hub (small farms and ranching) and is
the locale of one of the world's largest petroleum refineries. Q.T. Luong/Terragalleriacom
All islands feature pristine emerald beaches, sheltered coves, spectacular coral reefs and varying degrees of unscathed rain forests.
Some of the shorelines are characterized by deep indentations that form bays, many of which have ponds located just landward of
the shoreline. These ponds act as sediment traps, filtering sediment-laden runoff before it reaches the ocean. They also provide
important breeding habitats and feeding grounds for many different species of waterfowl, wading birds, crabs and other marine life.
The average temperature in the USVI ranges from 770F in the winter to 830F in the summer. Natural freshwater resources are very
limited. There are no permanent freshwater streams or large bodies of fresh water, such as lakes or ponds. Freshwater streams
flow mainly during periods of intense rainfall.
Steep terrains, limited natural freshwater resources, small land masses and other geographical characteristics, population and
socioeconomic structures all combine to create unique environmental challenges for the USVI.
All bugs are insects but not all insects are bugs. Confusing? Not necessarily.
Some insects are universally known and accepted as pests (bugs), others are
beneficial insects. A bee to someone who has a garden is a beneficial insect,
to another-a potential painful sting (a bug).
Pests come in all shapes, sizes and categories: insects, rodents, weeds, fungus,
trees, mites, bacteria, microorganisms and more. For some, even fish, birds and
other animals have been targeted as pests.
Pests threaten crops and food production, interfere with the natural and man-
made aesthetics of our environment, cause injury and disease in people,
animals and plant life and disrupt our lifestyles.
Plain and simple, pests can literally be a bug.
In most dictionaries, the term pesticide is simply defined as "insect killer."
However, there are many types and variants of pesticides: attractants,
repellents, growth regulators that control and manage certain pests, pesticides
that kill or rid us of problem pests and the list goes on.
Some Pesticide Types and Pests
o- Pesticide Ts Pests-
Plants and Insects
Insects and Plants
Insects and Vertebrates
Insects and Vertebrates
Trees and Shrubs
As noted on the side chart, the term pesticide also refers to herbicides, fungicides and various other
substances used to control pests.
Many household products are pesticides: ant and roach
sprays, insect baits, insect repellents for personal use, rat and
other rodent poisons as well as flea and tick sprays, powders
and pet collars. Kitchen and laundry detergents, sanitizers,
even toilet bowl cleaners contain pesticides.
Around the world, pesticides have revolutionized farming and
ranching, helping to cultivate hearty and plentiful food, other
agricultural crops and animal stock. These household pesticides are
not registered for use by the US EPA.
A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended
for the purpose of preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating pests.
While pesticides clearly help to relieve or rid us of troublesome pests, some pesticide products harm
and destroy plant life and the environment. Others injure and cause serious illness and disease in
people and other living things, and sometimes they kill.
The very nature and makeup of a pesticide is that it be toxic and harmful enough to adversely damage living organisms. As such, it is
only reasonable-though not intended-that pesticides, even when properly used, can sometimes be harmful to people, animals and
The same wonderful and temperate climate, cooling trade winds,
diverse topography and natural features that bring millions of
people to the USVI each year, also create a fertile ground for
many types of insects and pests, and a particular vulnerability to
harmful pesticides. Heavy winds can move some pests from area
to area within the USVI, and occasionally from and across
Storm water runoffs from steep, hilly terrains can introduce
pesticides into USVI soils, surface water and groundwater,
wetlands and coastal shores. Pesticide contamination can
originate from direct sources such as farms and business sites, to
waste disposal facilities containing pesticide remains and used
containers from industrial, residential and other sources.
Recognizing both the good and the potential harm that pesticide
use can cause, federal and USVI laws were enacted to regulate
and control the use and application of pesticides. These laws also
place restrictions on the production, sale and entry of certain
pesticides and pesticide components into states and territories.
All pesticides must be registered by the EPA's Office of Pesticide
Programs before they can be used in the United States and its
territories. Further, additional
registration processes can be
required by states and territories,
deeming certain pesticides
illegal for use. The
manufacture, sale and use of
pesticides cross many
environmental topics and
various local and national
Q.T. Luong/Terragalleria.com environmental laws.
The USVI Pesticide Control Act, Title 12 of the Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 19 801 822, is
managed and administered by the Department of Planning & Natural Resources, Division of
Environmental Protection. Through cooperative agreements, local pesticide control programs and
regulations are enforced under the umbrella of various federal laws, including the Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part
Oceans & Coastlines
Public Health, etc.
In brief, before a company can sell or distribute any pesticide in the USVI, federal and local laws require that the pesticide be
reviewed and approved by the EPA, be scientifically determined not to pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment
and be registered with the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs.
Pesticides must be used in strict accordance with label directions. Laws and regulations associated with pesticides set limits and
restrictions on how much of a pesticide may be used on food during growing and processing, how much can remain on the food
that we buy, and what pesticide components and amounts may result in drinking water safety concerns. Pesticide laws also cover
pesticide applicator training and certification, worker protection and exposure to pesticides on the job, and regulatory compliance
The Department of Planning & Natural Resources, Division of Environmental Protection's major program management
responsibilities for the implementation and enforcement of national and USVI pesticide laws and regulations include but are not
Pesticide Applicator Certification
The DPNR/DEP, in partnership and collaboration with the
University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service,
provides certification training for commercial and private
pesticide applicators. Certified applicators must be able to
read and comprehend pesticide label information and must
demonstrate knowledge of the safe and proper use,
application, handling, storage and disposal of pesticides.
Agricultural Chemicals in Groundwater Program
Groundwater is a highly threatened resource in the USVI.
Recharge areas often lie close to the surface and may be
affected by agricultural pesticides. Once contaminated,
groundwater is difficult or sometimes impossible to clean.
It is DPNR's responsibility: to help protect the waters of the
USVI by identifying areas most vulnerable to groundwater
contamination by pesticides; to survey, inspect and regulate
compliance with pesticide laws; and to provide outreach to
and to collaborate with agriculturists and other government
agencies that help facilitate the development of strategies that
mitigate risks to groundwater.
Endangered Species Program
In cooperation with DPNR's Division of Fish & Wildlife, the US
Environmental Protection Agency, the US Fish and Wildlife
Service (FWS), local, state and regional organizations and
pesticide users, DEP's Pesticide Control Program strives to
protect endangered species from the use of pesticides.
Under the Endangered Species Act of 1969,
the USVI must endeavor to protect and promote the recovery
of animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct
due to the activities of people. Under this Act, the EPA and
DPNR/DEP work to ensure that restricted pesticides do not
harm protected and sensitive species listed as endangered
and threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service or
damage habitats critical to those species' survival.
Worker Protection Program
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) strives to protect
agricultural workers from risks posed by pesticides. The WPS
is intended to reduce or prevent the risk of pesticide
poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers who are
exposed to pesticide residues. It encourages workplace safety
and practices that reduce or eliminate exposures to pesticides
and supports the development of response procedures for
2000 2001 2002
Commercial 45 59 60
Private 0 49 45
Applicator 1. Agricultural Pest Control Plant/Animal
Categories 2. Ornamental & Turf Pest Control
Used in the 3. Industrial, Institutional, Structural & Health Services
USVI 4. Public Health Pest Control
5. Regulatory Pest Control
6. Demonstration and Research Pest Control
7. Right-of-Way Pest Control
Most Common 1. Sale of Unregistered Pesticides
Actions 2. Misbranding of Pesticides
Underground Storage Tanks
Twenty years later and the underground storage tank battles
continue. In response to a growing concern over the number and
frequency of soil and groundwater contamination events related
to leaking underground storage tanks (USTs), in 1984 the United
States Congress substantially broadened the Solid Waste Disposal
Act (SWDA, 42 U.S.C. 6901, et seq.).
Under Subtitle I of SWDA, often referred to as the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the law directed the EPA
to set comprehensive operating requirements and technical
standards for underground storage tanks storing petroleum or
hazardous substances. These requirements addressed UST
design and installation, leak detection, spill and overfill control,
corrective actions and tank closures.
,,-- *Nationally, the majority of underground storage tanks (USTs)
S r. contain petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, heating oil,
kerosene, jet fuel, etc.). In the USVI nearly all (if not all) USTs
contain petroleum products.
UST leaks, spills and overflows present significant health and
environmental risks because of the hazardous and toxic chemicals
The greatest potential hazard from a leaking UST is that the
petroleum or other hazardous substances stored therein can seep
into the soil and contaminate groundwater, a primary source of
drinking water for upwards of 15% of the USVI population.
.V Nationwide, nearly half of all Americans depend on groundwater
for their drinking water.
Many private and municipal wells have been closed as a result of
contamination caused by UST releases. Leaking USTs can impair
air quality and can also present potential risks for fire and
In light of the significant safety, health and environmental hazards
presented by leaking underground storage tanks, national laws
and regulations addressing UST safety have expanded several
times since 1984.
Removal of Leaking Underground Storage Tank
Underground Storage Tanks
In 1985, the practice of installing and using unprotected steel tanks and piping was banned. A
Federal Trust Fund was established in October of 1986 to finance the cleanup of petroleum
releases from USTs. In 1988, a ten (10) year phase-in of various regulations went into place
requiring that USTs be upgraded, replaced or closed.
In brief, national UST related regulations require that:
n Regulated underground storage tanks must have regular monthly monitoring, leak detection
o CH, testing, inventory control, corrosion protection and spill prevention.
3 Tanks, leaks, cleanup and closures must be reported and recorded.
S* Certain sites may require cleanup.
SH, Existing tanks be replaced or upgraded to new tank standards by December 22, 1998.
S* Owners or operators must have proof of financial responsibility.
3 Affected USTs include tanks, and any underground piping connected to a tank, that have at least
Ethylbenzene 10 percent of their combined volume underground. Federal UST regulations only apply to
3 underground tanks and piping that store either petroleum or certain hazardous substances.
0 USTs not mandated by federal UST regulations include:
-- Farm and residential tanks with a capacity of 1,100 gallons or less holding motor fuel that is
(D used for noncommercial purposes;
(D Tanks storing heating oil that is used on the premises where it is stored;
(o Tanks on or above the floor of underground areas, such as basements or tunnels;
C-CH, Septic tanks and systems for collecting storm water and wastewater;
Benzene CH, Flow-through process tanks;
Methyl tert-butyl ether
Tanks with a capacity of 110 gallons or less; and
Emergency spill and overfill tanks.
Although the above types of tanks are not affected by federal requirements for USTs, some fall under other environmental
Major initiatives continue to be made by the EPA, the USVI DPNR/DEP and other states and territories to prevent and minimize UST
leaks, resultant groundwater and soil contamination, and associated human safety, health and environmental risks.
Underground Storage Tanks
As of October 2003, approximately thirty-three (33) states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have passed their own
UST regulations (EPA-approved) that are at least as strict as federal law and, in some cases, even more stringent.
The USVI is also working toward promulgation of UST regulations. In support of this endeavor, in 1998 the USVI Legislature
enacted UST legislation. Piloted by the DPNR/DEP, local UST regulations are in final draft and are currently being reviewed by the
A major benefit of local UST regulations is that, in addition to meeting federal requirements, local regulations would take into
consideration the diversity, unique needs and priorities of the USVI community and environment. Local UST regulations also give
the USVI, through the DPNR/DEP, primary responsibility for management of UST regulatory compliance, including enforcement and
assessment of fines and penalties for violations. The EPA currently holds primary responsibility for UST regulation in the USVI, but
has delegated, through memorandum of agreement, certain responsibilities to the DPNR/DEP.
Local UST laws must be at least as stringent as national laws. As such, after approval of local regulations by the EPA, UST owners
and operators would only have one (1) set of statues and regulations to adhere to.
National and Virgin Islands Experience
Protecting groundwater resources and soil from contamination is critically important to all communities. Because of its limited
natural freshwater resources and its small land mass, it is even more crucial for the USVI. There are no freshwater lakes or rivers in
the USVI to compensate for this dilemma.
Substantial progress has been made, both nationwide and in the USVI, to minimize and prevent UST leaks and contamination.
However, more work remains to be done.
Underground Storage Tanks
National and Virgin Islands Experience
Prior to the enactment of UST regulations, over 2 million USTs were estimated to be in place nationally, of which more than 25%
were suspected of leaking. Further, thousands of tanks were suspected of being buried and abandoned without documentation. As
of September 2003, nationally there were approximately 683,000 active USTs that are regulated by UST technical regulations.
Since 1984, more than 1.5 million substandard USTs have been closed nationwide. As of September 2003, approximately 79% of
active UST systems were in significant operational compliance with spill, overfill and corrosion protection requirements. While nearly all
tanks now have leak detection equipment, 28% are estimated to be in noncompliance with leak detection requirements. In most cases,
while proper equipment has been installed, it is not being monitored and checked as often as required.
In 1988, at the start of the USVI's Underground Storage Tank Program, approximately 302 regulated USTs were estimated to be
active on the three major islands, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. Since that time, over 280 USTs have been closed.
Active Underground Storage Tanks 124 683,000
Confirmed Releases 14 439,385
Number of Cleanups Completed 0 303,120
Cleanups to be Completed 14 136,265
*As of September 2003, US EPA
Corrective action for hazardous chemical leaks at UST sites involves
identifying the extent of contamination, evaluating the risks to human
health and the environment, risk management planning and treating
affected soils and groundwater to acceptable standards.
DPNR/DEP Action & Authority
Since enactment of federal UST regulations, the Division of Environmental Protection, Department of Planning & Natural Resources,
has launched various initiatives to reduce UST leaks and to enforce cleanup and remediation actions.
Each year, the DPNR/DEP conducts 35 to 40 UST compliance inspections at facilities throughout the USVI. When violations are
found, the most common statement given by UST owners and operators is: "I didn't know."
While UST concerns and violations have been identified within almost all USVI business sectors utilizing USTs, many of the problems
are associated with small, independent business operators, who often have limited financial resources. To address the needs of
large and small businesses, DPNR/DEP provides various compliance and outreach services targeting UST owners and operators.
These programs include: periodic newsletters and other public communications; compliance inspections; site investigations and
exposure assessments; and training and educational programs, coordinated with private industry and public entities such as the
University of the Virgin Islands.
Underground Storage Tanks
DPNR/DEP Action & Authority
In further support of local industry, the DPNR/DEP has been
entrusted with responsibility for oversight of the Federal Trust
Fund to finance USVI cleanup of petroleum releases from
underground storage tanks, as provided by Subtitle I of the
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Trust Fund monies are available from the EPA through
cooperative agreements, pursuant to the development and
maintenance of acceptable operational plans by the
DPNR/DEP (i.e., UST program management, enforcement
strategies and cost-recovery abilities, and management and
administration of UST Trust Fund activities associated with
cleanup at eligible facilities).
In addition to UST program management and administration,
DPNR/DEP is actively working to minimize hazards presented
by aboveground storage tanks. Aboveground storage tanks
proliferate the USVI. Leaks and careless spills from
aboveground storage tanks also contaminate soils, sub-soils
and groundwater. The objective is to draft viable legislation
that will regulate aboveground storage tanks, similar to laws
promulgated for underground storage tanks.
UST regulatory challenges and efforts in the USVI
continue to focus on:
* Inventorying of all regulated USTs;
* Identification of non-compliant systems that are still
Permanent closure of tanks taken out of service;
Remediation of releases discovered during upgrades,
tank removals, etc.;
Education and outreach to UST Owners and
Management, tracking and monitoring of the UST
Federal Trust Fund;
Development and implementation of USVI
regulations for underground storage tanks.
Contaminants Associated With Gasoline
Most leaking underground storage tank sites are contaminated by
gasoline. The following chemical components of gasoline are the
typical contaminants of concern for UST sites:
Benzene is the most hazardous ingredient in gasoline. Its EPA
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is 5 parts per billion (ppb). Long-
term exposure to benzene in drinking water at levels above the MCL
increases the risk of cancer.
Toluene and Ethylbenzene are not considered carcinogenic (cancer-
causing). Their MCLs are 1.0 and 0.7 parts per million (ppm)
respectively. Over the long term, toluene and ethylbenzene damage
the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.
Xylenes are a mixture of compounds (ortho-, meta- and para-xylene)
with two methyl (-CH3) groups attached to a benzene ring. Xylenes
also affect the liver, kidneys and nervous system, but they are not
considered nearly as hazardous as the first three-the MCL for total
xylenes is 10 ppm.
Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) is an additive used to increase the
oxygen content of gasoline to improve air quality. In the language of
the 1990 Clean Air Act, oxygenated gasoline is referred to as
"reformulated gasoline" or "oxyfuel." At concentrations as low as 20
parts per billion (ppb), MTBE makes drinking water unfit for human
consumption because of taste and odor (American Water Works
Association, LUST Program). Currently, MTBE is classified as a potential
human carcinogen, but as yet there is no Maximum Contaminant Level
for drinking water. The US Geological Survey reports that about 20%
of groundwater in areas where reformulated gasoline is sold is
contaminated by MTBE.
MTBE is highly soluble in groundwater-about 43,000 ppm. The high
solubility of MTBE allows it to be readily dissolved into groundwater
from leaked gasoline and transported over great distances. In some
cases, MTBE transport has exceeded the transport distances of *BTEX
compounds by 10 times. Compared to MTBE, the BTEX compounds
are less soluble and more readily absorbed into aquifer sediments.
*Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes together are referred to as the BTEX
compounds. They are the most common hazardous components of gasoline
All living things and almost all activities produce waste of some kind. Waste ranks high among the great certainties in life.
Household garbage; rubbish and trash from businesses, schools and other sources; discarded furniture and equipment; sewage
and wastewater; paper, wood and metal scraps; toxic and non-toxic residential and industrial materials; human, animal and other
biological waste; and an unlimited number and type of product containers-all represent waste.
Most of us do not give a lot of thought to waste after it is placed in a receptacle for disposal. However, there are numerous
reasons to be concerned about waste.
Waste is costly to dispose of, and the generation of large amounts of waste affects the environment.
Household, industrial and other discharges of waste can contaminate air, land, drinking and other water resources with pollutants
and toxins that can harm human health, animals and plant life. In addition, improper waste disposal can cause high-level growth
of disease-carrying mosquitoes and can attract rodents, flies and other insects, further impacting the health, safety and overall
quality of our lives.
It is very important for Virgin Islanders to think about where waste goes and what ultimately happens to it, especially since we are an
island community with limited space and resources. The diverse and dynamic topography and geology of the USVI gives rise to
many waste management concerns, as some natural features of our lands create unique susceptibilities to pollution, particularly soil
and groundwater contamination.
DPNR/DEP Solid Waste Management Program
Solid waste management in the USVI is regulated by DPNR under the authority conferred by the Virgin Islands Solid and Hazardous
Waste Disposal Act, Virgin Islands Code, Title 19, Chapter 56 and its rules and regulations, and pursuant to the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). A federal law applying to all states and territories in the nation, RCRA was enacted by the
US Congress in 1976 as an amendment to the 1965 Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA).
The objectives of RCRA are to:
* Protect human health and the environment from the hazards posed by waste management and disposal;
* Conserve energy and natural resources through waste recycling and recovery;
* Reduce or eliminate, as expeditiously as possible, the amount of waste generated, including
hazardous waste; and
* Ensure that wastes are managed in a safe, appropriate and legal manner from cradle to grave.
In line with national objectives, the mission of the DPNR/DEP Solid Waste Management Program
is to protect the health, safety and well-being of the public and to preserve and improve the
quality of the environment for all living things in our unique tropical locale.
The DPNR/DEP Solid Waste Management Program and assigned personnel are responsible for
regulating storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste in the USVI. Major accountabilities
include but are not limited to:
1. Regulatory compliance monitoring and enforcement
2. Issuance of solid waste disposal permits
3. Review and approval of waste management plans and specifications
4. Investigation of complaints pertaining to improper disposal and/or management of solid and
5. Inspection of waste management facilities and disposal sites
The diverse and dynamic
topography and geology
of the USVI gives rise to
many waste management
concerns, as some natural
features of our lands
pollution, particularly soil
Solid Waste Management Program personnel also conduct public awareness campaigns and outreach activities for the USVI
community, provide technical assistance to regulated businesses and educational programs covering a variety of waste
management related topics.
DPNR/DEP Solid Waste Management Program
Many of these activities are developed and presented in
coordination and/or collaboration with the Department of
Public Works, the USVI Department of Health, the EPA and
Under USVI laws and regulations, solid waste is defined as
any trash, rubbish (combustible or noncombustible), garbage,
refuse, offal, filth, bottles, glass, crockery, cans, cartons,
scrap metal, junked vehicles, appliances or hardware, brush,
waste soil, rock, construction materials, animal carcasses,
sludge from a waste treatment plant or air pollution control
facility, or any unsanitary or offensive material or discarded
matter, or parts or portions thereof, or any industrial,
commercial, mining, agricultural or other waste that is not
subject to point source discharge permits.
In addition to regulatory responsibility for solid waste, the
DPNR/DEP's Solid Waste Program responsibilities extend to
management of special wastes and wastes defined as
"hazardous waste" under local and national laws and
regulations, including human and animal medical waste.
Special wastes refer to items that require special or separate
handling, such as household hazardous wastes, bulky wastes,
tires and used oil.
Solid waste is a hazardous waste if it is not excluded by
regulation (40 CFR 261.4) and if it is listed (261.30) as a
hazardous waste, is a waste mixture containing one or more
listed hazardous wastes or exhibits one or more
characteristics of hazardous waste (i.e., ignitability,
corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity) (40 CFR 261.21 to 261.24).
Medical waste in the USVI is classified as hazardous wastes.
The DPNR/DEP's regulatory authorities apply to waste
management and waste disposal operators, generators and
transporters of hazardous waste, used oil, medical and other
Waste Treatment & Disposal
There are no privately owned municipal waste disposal
facilities in the USVI. Municipal solid waste collection and
disposal operations along with litter enforcement in the USVI
are under the direction and authority of the Department of
Public Works, an agency of the USVI Government. Public
Works oversees both local community and territory-wide
municipal waste collection and disposal operations.
At the present time, municipal waste disposal operations are
funded entirely by the general funds of the USVI Government.
No waste site drop-off or tipping fees are charged to waste
site users, industry or residents.
USVI Disposal Facilities & Methods
Waste Treatment & Disposal
The principal method for disposal of solid wastes in the USVI
is landfills. There are a total of two (2) active landfills in the
USVI, one located on St. Croix and the other on St. Thomas.
Both landfill sites present serious environmental safety
concerns. Each landfill has been cited by the DPNR for
noncompliance. They are the subject of enforcement actions
by the EPA and are under consent orders requiring the
correction of all solid waste management and disposal
activities not in compliance with federal regulations.
The USVI Government is examining various plans and options
for the resolution of existing solid waste management and
landfill noncompliance issues. This includes the identification
and selection of alternative landfill sites, as well as the
selection of alternative disposal methods such as waste-to-
gravity of its
e current solid
agencies such as
Operator) and the
..: local and national
-''.*' tions to develop
SI. long-term perma-
nent solutions for
efficient and sound waste management facilities in the USVI.
4Under applicable federal regulations and Virgin Islands Code, the above
referenced solid waste disposal facilities and/or "dump sites" do not meet legal
requirements for classification as landfills. Use of the word "landfill" is for easy
reference and descriptive purposes only.
* St. Croix: The Anguilla Landfill is located approximately 2,000 feet
southeast of the eastern end of the Henry A. Rohlsen Airport,
adjacent to the St. Croix Wastewater Treatment Plant. This facility is
substantially oversubscribed and seriously noncompliant with various
local and national environmental and aviation-related laws and
regulations. Temporary improvements have been made at this
landfill site, pending permanent resolutions and ultimate site closure.
The DPNR/DEP is closely monitoring this site and is conducting
regular site inspections. Environmental safety and health concerns at
this site are of an urgent matter. Alternative solid waste
management solutions and options are currently under review.
* St. Thomas: The Bovoni Landfill, a 30-acre facility at Long Point
Peninsula on St. Thomas, is seriously noncompliant with local and
national environmental laws and regulations. While there appears to
be no immediate threat to human health and the environment, it is
imperative that irregularities in the operation of this facility are
improved and that permanent resolutions are devised as soon as
possible. This landfill site is also oversubscribed. Alternative solid
waste management solutions and options are currently under review.
* St. John: A solid waste staging and transfer station is in place on
the Island of St. John. Waste is transported by barge to St. Thomas'
Other major waste disposal methods:
Recycling -A small number of redemption and recycling facilities
operate within the USVI, processing used aluminum, copper, scrap metal
and other recyclable waste materials.
Incineration The incineration of medical wastes (human and
veterinary) is suspended due to regulatory compliance matters, including
equipment and other resource limitations.
Waste Exporting Prior to September 2002, the primary method for
disposing of medical wastes in the USVI was incineration. Classified as a
hazardous waste under the Virgin Islands Code, USVI medical wastes are
transported to an off-island waste disposal facility. The exporting of
other solid wastes to mainland US or other off-island sites is cost-
Used Oil Burners/Energy Recovery -At present, the Virgin Islands
Water and Power Authority in St. Thomas and Hovensa, a local oil
refinery in St. Croix, are the only facilities in the USVI permitted to burn
Waste Treatment & Disposal
Per EPA statistics, in the year 2000, US residents, businesses and institutions produced more than 230 million tons of municipal
solid waste (before recycling), representing nearly five (5) pounds of waste per person per day, up from 2.7 pounds per person per
day in 1960.
By comparison, information contained in the April 2000 Final Waste Sort Report, conducted at St. Croix's Anguilla Landfill, showed
an estimate of 11 0,000 to 130,000 tons of solid waste generated annually on the island of St. Croix. This represents a waste per
person per day rate of 12 pounds, more than twice the national average. Another way of viewing these results is that nearly two (2)
tons of waste per St. Croix resident is sent to landfills each year.
The April 2000 Final Waste Sort Project was an outgrowth of the USVI Antilitter and Beautification Commission's desire to assist in
the development of locally based, sustainable recycling and waste reduction programs. The primary goal of the waste sort was to
gain a thorough knowledge of the landfill characteristics in order to better assist in the design and implementation of efficient waste
reduction and waste management strategies in the USVI.
Used Oil Management
The management of used oil is an important responsibility for DPNR/DEP's Solid Waste Program. Classified as a special waste, the
EPA's regulatory definition of used oil is: "any oil that has been refined from crude oil or any synthetic oil that has been used and as
a result of such use is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities."
Simply put, used oil is exactly what its name implies, "any petroleum-based or synthetic oil that has been used." During normal
use, impurities such as dirt, metal scrapings, water or chemicals can get mixed in with the oil, so that in time the oil no longer
performs well. Eventually, used oil must be replaced with new oil (virgin or re-refined oil) to do the job at hand.
Municipal Solid Waste
2000 National Waste Generation
Yard Trimmings 12.0%
Food Scraps 11.2%
1 Metals 7.0%
Rubber, Leather & Textlles 6.7%
l Wood 5.5%
2000 St. Croix Waste Sort Project
Compostable Organics 34.3%
"Do it Right....Dispose of Used Oil Properly"
Used Oil Effects on Our Land & Health Used Oil Recycling Drive
Used oil can contain such contaminants as lead, magnesium,
copper, zinc, chromium, arsenic, chlorides, cadmium, chlorinated
compounds and other toxic contaminants. These substances
have been determined to present potential endangerment to
human and animal health, and to the environment.
Oil poured down drains or onto the ground can work its way into
soil, eventually reaching groundwater. When this happens, i
serious contamination can occur. Used oil on the soil can cu ''
contaminate by causing harm to living organisms. Harm to these B -- '
organisms can result in irreversible damage to the food chain. If
the oil reaches groundwater, it could render that groundwater
unsuitable for human use. Once an aquifer is contaminated, it
may be unsuitable for years.
Just one gallon of used oil can render a million gallons of fresh
It is very important for all stakeholders, citizens, government
agencies and businesses alike to adhere to the provisions of used
oil regulations in order to avoid environmental pollution and save
energy and resources.
DPNR/DEP Action & Response
To address potential environmental hazards posed by the
mismanagement of used oil, the DPNR/DEP implemented a used
oil program, as provided by Title 19, Chapter 56, Section 1560-
503. The standard for the management of used oil is identical to
those in 40 CFR Part 279, except as distinguished in section
1560-102, 501 and 502 of subchapter 1560.
These regulations substantially changed public practices toward
used oil collection, management, disposal and re-use in the
Through the used oil program, the DPNR/DEP tracks and records
all known used oil handlers in the Territory, issues permits to
generators and transporters and provides public educational
opportunities for the general public and regulated community
about proper used oil management. Sponsored by DPNRDEP
a n d the VI Department of Public Works
and the VI Department of Public Works
Tips for Consumer Waste Reduction
Used Oil Management
Some of the largest generators of used oil include business
industries such as auto repair shops, service stations, quick
lube shops, government motor pools, grocery stores, metal
working industries and boat marinas. These industries and
other high-volume oil-use businesses are categorized as
"Used Oil Generators," or simply "Generators."
Approximately 400 facilities in the USVI are considered used
oil generators. The DPNR/DEP has inspected 255 of these
facilities and has permitted 162 to date.
A key element for ensuring proper disposal of used oil is the
exclusive use of permitted used oil transporters. The job of
used oil transporters is to pick up and deliver used oil
collected from all commercial sources to re-refiners,
processors, burners or offsite disposal facilities. Currently,
HOVENSA in St. Croix and the Virgin Islands Water and
Power Authority in St. Thomas are the only facilities in the
Territory that are permitted to burn used oil in their burners.
Used oil re-refiners and processors recycle used oil by
blending or removing impurities so that it can be burned for
energy recovery or reused to make new products such as
lubricants. Similarly, burners burn used oil for energy
recovery in boilers, industrial furnaces or in hazardous waste
"Do It Yourselfers" (DIY) Collection Centers have been
established for individuals who generate used oil through the
maintenance of their personal vehicles and other equipment.
These personal and non-commercial activities are not subject
to regulations under the used oil management standards.
Used Oil Collection Sites
Susanaberg Transfer Station
Public Works Motor Pool
Bovoni (Waste Disposal Site)
Anna's Hope Compound (DPW)
Concordia (DPW) -Temporarily Closed
Whenever possible, buy bulk or concentrated products to
reduce packaging. Examples include concentrated fruit
juice, laundry detergent, etc.
Reduce toxic waste by purchasing paints, pesticides and
other hazardous materials only in the quantities needed,
or by sharing leftovers.
Buy products made from recycled materials. Many
bottles, cans, cereal boxes, containers and cartons are
made from recycled material.
Select reusable products. Sturdy, washable utensils,
tableware, cloth napkins and dishcloths can be used
many times before being thrown away.
Reuse newspaper, boxes, shipping "peanuts" and "bubble
wrap" when shipping packages.
Choose furniture, sports equipment, toys and tools that
will stand the test of time. Take unwanted items to
charitable groups, sell them or give them away to those
who can use them.
Buy recyclable goods-then remember to recycle (i.e.,
paper, glass, certain plastics, metals, etc.).
Take car batteries, antifreeze and motor oil to
participating recycling centers and "Do It Yourselfers"
(DIY) Collection Centers (used oil).
Learn how to make compost-food scraps and yard
waste can become natural soil conditioners.
Major Challenges to USVI Land
1. Solid Waste Management remains the greatest challenge as the
Territory continues to find an effective solution to its solid waste
In December 2003, legislation establishing a Waste Management
Authority was passed by the USVI Senate. Near-term signing of this
important legislation by Governor Charles W. Turnbull is
2. Second, but of equal importance, is the absence of a USVI territory-
wide land and water use plan. The lack of an effective land and
water use plan causes havoc with the natural resources of the
3. The lack of Best Management Practices (BMP) in construction results
in soil erosion and non-point source pollution. This is a major
challenge to both land and water resources.
4. Improper disposal of used oil.
I LA w
The islands and cays of the US Virgin Islands are surrounded by
over one hundred and eighty-five nautical miles of the world's
most pristine bays and beaches that, in turn, support some of the
most beautiful coral reefs, mangroves, salt ponds and tropical
sea grass beds.
Freshwater springs and streams support wildlife, mangroves,
estuaries, forests and recharge groundwater.
As in most places in the world, our islands and our waters are
affected by development pressures from residents, industry and
visitors. Associated activities like increased construction along
coastlines, boating activities, increases in pollution sources such
as vessel wastes and uncontrolled storm water runoff further
impact our islands.
In order to protect the water resources of the US Virgin Islands,
the Department of Planning & Natural Resources-in cooperation
with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the
Government of the Virgin Islands-delegated authority to the
Division of Environmental Protection to operate programs whose
goals are to protect USVI water resources.
Water Pollution Control
The nation's first comprehensive water pollution law, the Federal
Water Pollution Control Act, was established in 1948. To better
address rapidly evolving water pollution and water quality
concerns of states and territories, the Federal Water Pollution
Control Act was substantially broadened through a series of
amendments in the 1960's and 1972. As amended in 1977 and
subsequently, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act is now
commonly known as the Clean Water Act.
The objective of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is to restore and
maintain the chemical, biological and physical integrity of the
To further protect, maintain and enhance water quality in the
USVI, the VI Legislature enacted the Territorial Water Pollution
Control Act of 1972.
,. .. -. -- --B
Water Pollution Control
The protection of USVI waters, from land to sea, and the safeguarding of its distinctive marine
and wildlife habitats have become increasingly difficult in the face of economic and industrial
development and rising populations.
DPNR/DEP's Water Pollution Control Program (WPC) is entrusted with the responsibility of
implementing and enforcing water quality and pollution control laws in the USVI. Under the
Clean Water Act, Section 106, the WPC Program is tasked with monitoring the marine waters
of the USVI and with controlling discharges into those waters.
Major objectives of the WPC Program are to:
* Ensure compliance with Territorial water quality standards;
* Build and maintain information management systems for ongoing data analysis and
development of critical environmental parameters;
* Monitor the health of potentially threatened biological communities;
* Prevent degradation of marine waters by carefully reviewing development proposals;
* Ensure that discharges into the waters of the USVI meet the requirements established by both
the CWA and the Territorial Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) Permitting
Major programs administered and managed by the WPC Program include:
* Ambient Monitoring Program
* Territorial Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
* Virgin Islands Beach Monitoring Program
An important element of the WPC Program's business strategy involves collaboration and
partnership with various local and national organizations, from private industry to educational
institutions, government agencies and others.
The Ambient Monitoring Program
The goal of the Ambient Monitoring Program is to collect data on the quality of our coastal
waters, in an effort to protect the ecosystem as well as those who enjoy our beaches and
waters. USVI surface waters are classified into three (3) groups based on designated uses.
'All waters of the US Virgin Islands are designated for fish consumption, aquatic life support, swimming and primary contact uses
pursuant to the Virgin Islands Water Quality Standard, Title 12, Chapter 7, 186 1 of the Virgin Islands Rules and Regulations (VIR&R).
Water Pollution Control
The Ambient Monitoring Program
Class A Waters are for the preservation of natural phenomena requiring special conditions with existing natural conditions that
shall not be changed. Class A water standards are the most stringent of the three classes because of the pristine or
near pristine state of waters in this classification.
Class B Waters are for the propagation of desirable species of marine life and for primary contact recreation.
Class C This classification is similar to Class B, except that it has slightly less stringent water quality standards for a limited
number of parameters.
Data collected is used to:
* Help determine effluent (discharge) permit limits in order to ensure the water quality use classification requirements of the water
body receiving the discharge.
* Develop various water body listings, which, in turn, promote water quality restoration and/or improvements.
* Develop new water quality standards as may be warranted.
Data samples are analyzed for specific parameters that can affect public or environmental health. If problems occur, DPNR/DEP
will locate the source of the problem, can temporarily close the beach (if necessary) and will continue monitoring until the problem
DPNR/DEP currently performs quarterly water quality monitoring at one hundred and thirty-five (135) locations across all three
islands. The remaining sites are sampled under a beach monitoring network for protection of coastal waters.
Pursuant to provisions of the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000 (BEACH Act), the DPNR/DEP has
recently launched major efforts to improve public health and safety at USVI beaches. These efforts include the improvement and
expansion of water quality monitoring, public communication and notification systems.
Development and oversight of the BEACH Act program falls under the auspices of DEP's WPC Program.
Territorial Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
The Territorial Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) Program monitors discharges and enforces regulations controlling
discharges from specific sites (point sources), including industrial, commercial and some residential sites that discharge into the
waters of the Virgin Islands.
A point source is defined as "any discernable, confined and discrete conveyance, including, but not limited to, any pipe, ditch,
channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, concentrated animal feeding operation, or vessel or other
floating craft from which pollutants are or may be discharged (VI Code T. 12 182(j))."
Water Pollution Control
Territorial Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
Most human activity produces a waste stream. Many of the US Virgin Islands' essential industries and services operate under the
TPDES Program. Depending on the type of activity, its proximity to the coast and the waste generated, DPNR/DEP will require a
Establishments that produce fresh water from seawater (hotels, power plants and residences), manufacturers, refineries and power
generation plants are just a few types of facilities producing waste streams that must be regulated to minimize harmful effects to
Such facilities must comply with site-specific discharge limits for turbidity, suspended solids, temperature and other factors or face
enforcement actions and/or fines. These discharge limits are set to minimize impacts to the waters of the US Virgin Islands and to
guarantee the long-term health and safety of not only the Territory's people but also the coastal/marine environment. Facilities
must obtain permits and must provide periodic reports on their discharge in order to comply with the TPDES program. DPNR/DEP
also monitors the waters near these discharges as part of the Ambient Monitoring Program.
Water Pollution Control
Virgin Islands Beach Monitoring Program
The US Virgin Islands, with its year-round swimming season,
renowned coastal waters, breathtaking beaches and high volume
of beachgoers, presents a high exposure rate to near-shore
waters for the local and visiting public.
USVI coastlines are dotted with numerous public-bathing beaches
that are visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.
However, non-point source pollution from failing septic systems,
agricultural runoff and the boating community-in conjunction
with numerous troubled components of the Territory's public
sewer system-may create health risk exposures to bathers at
some USVI beaches.
Previous resource limitations and water quality monitoring
approaches did not provide sufficient coverage and frequency to
maximize human health protection from illness-causing bacteria
and pollutants that may encroach upon or exit into marine waters
S and beach area environments.
SAccording to the EPA's 2002 Beach Survey, more than one
ea t t a n quarter of the reported beaches in the United States (672) issued
at least one swimming advisory or beach closure in the summer
of 2001. Most of these advisories were due to elevated bacteria
levels, primarily from sewage overflows or storm water runoff.
The Beach Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of
2000 (referred to as the BEACH Act) seeks to address these
issues. To that end, it provides new opportunities for states and
territories to not only improve monitoring of marine waters and
beaches but, ultimately, to reduce health risks to the public as
The BEACH Act amends the Clean Water Act by authorizing the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to appropriate funds to
states and territories for the development of water quality monitoring and notification programs. Implementation of these programs
by states and territories will result in a more uniform system for protecting the users of marine waters.
The DPNR/DEP applied for and received a grant from the EPA, in the amount of $303,488, to develop and initiate the Virgin
Islands Beach Monitoring Program, pursuant to the requirements of the BEACH Act.
The goals of the Virgin Islands Beach Monitoring Program are to increase and improve water quality monitoring at local beaches,
to expand the notification of beach warnings or closings to the public and to identify and eliminate threats to local beach water
.--" "" .- ," .,. "
Water Pollution Control
Virgin Islands Beach Monitoring Program
Initiated in the fall of 2003, further objectives of this program include:
* Development of a Risk-Based Beach Evaluation and Development of Aquatic Sanitation Programs to Identify and
Classification Plan Eliminate Potential Pollutant Sources
* Submission of Monitoring Reports to the EPA Development of a USVI Tiered Beach Monitoring Plan
* Providing Public Notification and Risk Communication Plans Development of Assessment Methods and Procedures
* Development of Measures to Notify the Public Development of Measures to Notify the EPA and Local
* Development of Public Evaluation of the Program
Providing Notification Report Submission and Delegation
* Application of Effective Coastal Zone Management Strategies
Development of Predictive Models for Assessing Recreational
* Evaluation of Near-shore Water Quality Water Quality
Creation of Preemptive Warning Systems to Better Serve the
St. John Beaches
1 Cruz Bay 14 Jumby Bay 28 Zootenvaal
2 Salomon 15 Trunk Bay 29 Johnson's Bay 23
3 Honeymoon 16 Windswept Bay 30 John's Folly Bay N J ,
4 Little Caneel 17 Peter Bay 31 Saltpond Bay 1 1 7 4
5 Caneel 18 Little Cinnamon 32 Little Lameshur 091 0 6
6 Scott 19 Cinnamon Bay 33 Genti/ Reef Bay a 1 2 19 CBay i
7 Paradise 20 Big Maho Bay 34 Western lJ 1
8 Turtle Bay 21 Little Maho Bay 35 Cocoloba Cruz Bay
9 Hawksnest Caneel 22 Francis Bay 36 Dittlif 041 40 3 33 32
10 Skinny 23 Waterlemon Cay 37 Klain Bay 4 5
11 Public Hawksnest 24 Leinster Bay 38 Hart Bay 3B 61 / 31
12 Private Hawksnest 25 Brown Bay 39 Chocolate Hole
12b Oppenheimer 26 Haulover Bay 40 Great Cruz Bay 0 1 2
13 Denis Bay 27 Newfound Bay 41 Frank Bay
6Beaches shown in "blue" text are currently designated for monitoring.
Water Pollution Control
St. Croix Beaches
1 Sandy Point
2 Stony Ground
3 Second Target
5 Frederiksted (First Target)
7 Rainbow (Prosperity)
9 Sprat Hall
10 Butler Bay
11 Ham's Bay
12 Maroon Hole
13 Davis Bay
15 Cane Bay
17 Gentle Winds
18 Columbus Landing
19 Judith Fancy
20 Pelican Cove (Cormorant)
21 St. Croix by the Sea
22 Turquoise Bay
23 Princess (Condo Row)
24 Protestant Cay
25 New Fort (Ft. Louise Augusta)
27 Green Cay
27a Chenay Bay
30 Tague Bay (Reef Beach)
31 Buck Island
32 Smuggler's Cove
33 Knight Bay
34 Boiler Bay
35 Cramer's Park
36 East End Bay
37 Isaac Bay
38 Jack Bay
39 Grapetree Bay
40 Turner Hole
41 Rod Bay
42 Robin Bay
43 Great Pond
44 Fareham Bay
45 Spring Bay
48 Canegarden Bay
49 Krause Lagoon
50 Manning Bay
51 Campo Rico
52 White Lady
St. Thomas Beaches
1 West Cay
2 Salt Cay
3 Botany Bay
4 Bordeaux Bay
5 Stumpy Bay
6 Santa Maria Bay
7 Hendricks Bay
8 Sorgenfri Bay
9 Caret Bay
10 Penn Bay
11 Neltjeberg Bay
12 Inner Brass-Sandy Bay
13 Inner Brass-Hard Bay
14 Dorothea Bay
15 Palm Bay
16 Hull Bay
17 Tara Bay
18 Barrett Bay
19 Magens Bay
20 Hans Lollik-Coconut Bay
21 Hans Lollik-Dry Bays
22 Little Hans Lollik
23 Mandahl Bay
24 Tutu Bay
25 Sunsi Bay
26 Spring Bay
27 Coki Point
Water is one of the key elements for the creation of life. US Virgin Islanders are profoundly aware that fresh water is a limited yet
extremely valuable and renewable resource. Water is there to be used but also to be conserved and protected. Groundwater
belongs to all the people of the USVI.
Many people in the USVI think of fresh water as coming principally from rainfall harvesting (catchments and cisterns), surface water
(ponds, springs, streams) or desalination plants that convert seawater to fresh water. However, another very important source of
fresh water in the USVI is groundwater.
Groundwater, extracted from wells, has long been an integral part of Virgin Islands' life and today it accounts for a significant
portion of the Territory's private and public water supply. Groundwater currently accounts for 30% of the USVI public/private water
supply and has provided up to 100% of the public's potable water supply after major disasters such as Hurricane Hugo (St. Croix-
Early inhabitants used streams, springs and rainfall catchments to fulfill their freshwater needs. As the population grew and
agricultural and commercial activities increased, additional water sources were needed. Simple hand-dug wells and later wind-
powered wells were used to supply fresh water. Hand-dug wells and stone windmill pump towers from the 1700-1800's still exist,
testifying to the importance of groundwater for daily living. Today, over 700 public and private wells in the USVI (excluding
HOVENSA) produce about 2,927,000 gallons of fresh water per day. Well water serves as a vital supply for home, business,
government and public/private water supply throughout the Territory. It is sometimes the only source of fresh water during disasters,
when other water supply sources are unavailable. In addition, groundwater is very important to the USVI economy.
The use of groundwater reduces USVI dependency on imported oil. In order to produce 10,000 gallons of fresh water from
seawater (desalination), approximately one (1) barrel of oil is required. The cost of producing fresh water from wells is a small
fraction of the cost of desalinating seawater.
-. Water-level declines
Source of Groundwater
A common misconception is that groundwater in the USVI occurs Peipitation
in underground rivers and lakes, or that it is seawater filtered by aI mo P ping we
the earth. Contrary to these beliefs, all of our fresh groundwater Riparian one
comes from rain falling on the Islands and filtering into the earth. it io t n .
The production, deposition and transportation of water occurs in \ \ r
a cycle. Water evaporates from the earth and sea, collects as "'. _W
clouds in the atmosphere and then falls back as rain to the ""-
earth's surface. This is called the hydrologic cycle. n- Goud-uwatertfow
Soils and plants absorb a portion of the rain falling on the
Islands, another portion runs off the surface into streams and a
small portion gradually saturates the soils. The water in the saturated soil seeps deep into the earth and collects in the pores and
spaces between particles of soil, sand and gravel. It also collects in the pores and fractures of rock. Groundwater moves slowly
toward streams (guts) and the sea.
Groundwater provides necessary stores of moisture for plants
and trees. It also contributes and recharges water to streams,
ponds and springs, and is essential to wetlands and near-
shore marine ecosystems. It is an integral part of the natural
environment of the USVI.
Depending on rainfall, soil and subsurface conditions, water
can collect underground in sufficient quantities to be
available for use by people. These underground areas where
water is available for use are called aquifers. Just as streams
(guts) are categorized as belonging to specific drainage areas
that are defined by topography such as hills surrounding
lowlands, aquifers are categorized as being located in
particular areas which are defined by surface and subsurface
features (geology) and topography. Groundwater is
available in most areas of the Virgin Islands. Due to the
differences in topography and geology on St. Thomas, St.
Croix and St. John, groundwater varies in quantity and quality
between and within each island.
The most common method for extracting groundwater from
the earth is by digging or drilling a well. Whether by hand or
machine (drill rig), the concept is the same. A hole is
dug/drilled into the earth until groundwater is found (water
table). Wells have to be deep enough that sufficient water
can move from the saturated earth and fill the portion of the
hole below the water table. The water can then be removed
manually or by pumps. As water is removed from a well, the
water table drops.
Water then moves in from the surrounding area, replacing
the water that was removed. The more water that is
removed, the more the subsurface area around the well is
If properly constructed, the simple hand-dug wells of the past
supplied a reliable source of water, although they were
susceptible to contamination from the surface. The relatively
small amount of water that could be extracted would not
likely have exceeded the freshwater supply.
Modern wells in the USVI are constructed by drill rigs. These
machines bore into the earth, making a round hole typically
measuring 6-12 inches in diameter boreholee). The borehole
is deepened until it reaches below the water table. A metal
or plastic sleeve (casing) is inserted into the hole to keep its
walls open and to prevent loose material from falling into the
If the water table is in rock, the casing will be installed to the
hard rock and an "open hole" left below. If the water table is
in loose material, like sand or gravel, a well screen (slotted
screen) is lowered into the water-producing zone. The well
screen allows water to enter the well while, at the same time,
prevents loose material from falling into the wall and
"- borehole. The
J upper area,
... around the
outside of the
well near the
Depending on the depth to water, surface-mounted or
submersible pumps are used to extract the water. Not all
wells are equally productive. Well production (yield) can
vary, depending on local rainfall, landforms, land use and
geology. All these factors affect the quantity and quality of
water that can be extracted from a well. In productive areas
on all three islands, numerous interconnected wells (well
fields) are used for public and private consumption.
There are approximately 706 public and private wells in the USVI
(excluding HOVENSA, a local oil refinery on St. Croix).
St. Croix: 498 (468 private, 30 public supply systems)
St. Thomas: 176 (156 private, 20 public supply systems)
St. John: 32 (30 private, 2 public supply systems).
Total Pumping Rates:
Private Wells: 327,000 Gallons Per Day (GPD)
Public wells: 2,600,000 GPD
Total: 2,927,000 GPD
HOVENSA has 121 active recovery wells, 9 vapor extraction
wells, 489 monitoring wells and 101 regulated wells. Its total
pumping rate is 500,000 GPD.
*Valued as of September 2003
~X .v r'
Land of resideta Threats to Groundwater
and/or Industrial Waste
Laor Everyone's wells and everyone's groundwater
stream -- resources are interconnected. Groundwater
S --is literally a resource that is shared by all.
Since it is always on the move, it is a resource
with no regard for property boundaries.
'."^^ Recharge Water from a well on the coast likely fell as
Strain in the mountains of that basin. Since its
source originates from rain infiltrating
through the soils, groundwater is very
susceptible to contamination. Groundwater
moves very slowly through the earth and,
once contaminated, is very difficult to clean.
I''Lk 'o r I'' Le Groundwater is normally found in a relatively
SS Stream Spure state. Filtration of rainfall through soils
and subsoils purifies the water of many
Plumes of Lchate in Dischae fGrundwaterinto naturally occurring contaminants, such as
GroundWater airborne bacteria and sediments.
Unfortunately, improper drilling, construction
and maintenance of wells, over-pumping, improper use and storage of chemicals and improper disposal of wastes can contaminate
groundwater. In addition, improper construction and sealing of wells allows surface runoff and pollution (bacteria, sediment,
chemicals) a direct route into the aquifer. Proper sealing of the well protects the aquifer and the people using its water from
unnecessary potential harm from surface pollutants.
Pumping water from a well removes a certain amount of water from the immediate area around the well. If too many wells are
pumping from one area, at a rate higher than the natural replacement rate from rainfall (recharge), the water table will drop
excessively. This over-pumping can result in reduced yield in nearby wells.
In some areas, over-pumping can cause seawater or mineralized water to be drawn into the well, turning the water salty. Lowering
of the water table will increase pumping cost and, at the worst, can contaminate the aquifer with salt, rendering it useless unless
expensive desalination treatment is used.
Improper use and storage of chemicals and disposal of wastes are other major causes of groundwater pollution. Leakages from
aboveground and underground storage tanks, dumping of waste oil or other chemicals onto the ground and improperly
constructed waste treatment systems will allow pollution to seep into the ground and mix with the groundwater.
It is not only large industrial facilities that can cause contamination but individuals too. For example, a gallon of waste oil dumped on
the ground or into storm drains or septic systems can contaminate an acre of groundwater. Microorganisms and nutrients from
livestock, fertilizers, domestic animals and improperly constructed septic systems can contaminate nearby wells with bacteria and viruses.
Water treatment can be simple (chlorination, ozone, boiling) or it can require complex treatment for chemical contamination.
Sometimes the contamination is so severe that the aquifer cannot be used for generations.
It is far more practical and economical to protect groundwater than to clean it up.
Many aquifers in the USVI have been impacted and/or threatened by contamination. Economic damage can exceed millions of
dollars in lost revenue and cleanup costs. This burden is often borne by taxpayers or is reflected in the loss of use of wells or
increased costs of goods and services. What is being done to protect our Islands' most important resources?
Groundwater Management and Protection
The Department of Planning & Natural Resources, Division of Environmental Protection, has been entrusted with the management
and protection of USVI groundwater resources. There are numerous programs within DPNR/DEP-often in coordination with other
DPNR divisions or local and federal agencies-that identify groundwater resources, provide resource management and develop
regulations and practices to protect and preserve groundwater resources.
Well Permitting Since groundwater is a limited resource that
can be "overdrawn," DPNR/DEP regulates the withdrawal of
groundwater through its well permitting programs.
When an individual or business wants to drill a well, a
DPNR/DEP representative will inspect the site to determine if it
is a safe distance from potential contamination sources
(leachfields, septic tanks) or other wells. DPNR will also
evaluate the aquifer capacity and safe pumping rates for the
well. To help ensure that proper equipment and techniques
are used when drilling a well, all well drillers must be licensed
Once the well is drilled, an appropriation permit will be
issued describing the total amount of water permitted to be
withdrawn on a daily basis. For individual homes, this is
typically 500 gallons per day. Businesses and industries are
allotted pumping rates based on their needs and the capacity
of the aquifer. Groundwater appropriation permits are issued
for a two-year period. When the two-year period is up, the
property owner must reapply for a groundwater appropriation
permit and must meet appropriate well conditions governed
by the Virgin Islands Rules and Regulations.
In the past, over-pumping has caused withdrawals of
groundwater to exceed an aquifer's capacity, forcing
temporary shutdown of all wells in a basin. Cooperation of
all well owners is required to ensure all have enough water. It
is important to remember that we share the Territory's water
and that the regulations developed by DPNR guarantee a fair
share of that resource to everyone.
Well Inventory DPNR maintains extensive records on
aquifer conditions and on the location, condition and
pumping histories of wells in the USVI. This information is
essential in managing groundwater resources and in ensuring
that sufficient groundwater is available to all.
Wellhead Protection As described above, rainfall infiltrating
over a large area collects underground and moves toward
the sea. Wells intercept this water. Contamination of the
surface or subsurface within the "area of influence" threatens
water quality. DPNR has completed analyses of major well
fields to develop Well Head Protection Areas. These areas
have been established with the aim of safeguarding our most
valuable drinking water supplies. Maps of these areas
delineate the land around major wells and wellfields that
must be protected to ensure safe drinking water supplies.
Earth Change Permit Program The Division of
Environmental Protection has recently assumed administration
of the Earth Change Permit Program. As anyone who has
built a home, graded a new road or made a "change" to
USVI land knows, an Earth Change Permit is required prior to
commencement of such work. This is one of the Virgin
Islands' most important environmental programs.
This permitting program helps to ensure that approved
development plans are sound and that buildings, roads,
septic systems, drainage ways, etc. function safely and
effectively. The program also ensures that safeguards are in
place during construction and over the life of the
development that minimize impacts to groundwater and to
our other natural resources, such as woodlands, streams,
wetlands, beaches, coral reefs and wildlife.
Other Environmental Programs
Numerous interrelated programs such as Superfund, RCRA, Drinking Water, TPDES, UST, Water Pollution Control and others work
together to regulate and manage threats to groundwater and to protect public health. They administer proper resource
management and protection regulations, identify existing or potential sources of pollution and assist and facilitate the cleaning up
of the environment. This can be very costly to both the polluter and the residents of the Islands. Loss of the use of wells, decreased
economic activity and increased water costs are the unfortunate results of groundwater pollution.
DPNR is constantly updating its databases, developing and integrating environmental programs to provide a better understanding
of groundwater resources, defining its relationship to other natural systems and looking for ways to increase the availability of the
groundwater resource, while protecting it for future generations.
The interface between groundwater and the environment is a major focus of DPNR. Groundwater is directly related to and affected
by forestry management, stream and pond protection and mangrove and marine health. It affects and is impacted by farming,
industry, construction, tourism and homeowners. DPNR's groundwater development and management plan is rapidly moving
toward the goal of integrating with the comprehensive resource management plan that includes:
* Comprehensive Resource Database and Mapping Contamination Identification and Remediation
* Watershed Management Resource Monitoring
* Well Construction Permitting and Appropriation Earth Change Permits
* Well Head Protection Solid Waste Management
* Non-Point Source Pollution Control Education and Outreach
* TPDES Program
DPNR has made great progress in defining and protecting this valuable and essential resource. DPNR's education and outreach
programs increase cooperation by the public, who is an essential partner in protecting the resource. Public cooperation is crucial to
the long-term success of the above programs and availability of our groundwater resources.
Even though not every Virgin Islander has a well, every Virgin Islander benefits from groundwater. Reduced costs for potable water,
along with goods and services that rely on a safe and reliable water supply, serve every resident of the Territory.
Groundwater has proven to be a lifesaving commodity during hurricanes, when other sources of potable water were unavailable. It
is not only the businesses and customers of those who rely directly on daily water supply (such as farmers, bottle water distributors
and water truckers) that benefit from groundwater. Tourism, manufacturing, homeowners, industry, in other words, everyone has a
stake in the development, conservation and protection of this essential resource.
As the trustee of this vital resource, DPNR is working hard to protect and manage groundwater resources, in close cooperation with
the businesses, industries, visitors and, most importantly, people of the Virgin Islands who have entrusted DPNR with this life-giving
Non-Point Source Pollution Program
The health of the Virgin Islands' economy depends, to a large extent, on
maintaining clean and healthy coastal waters, coral reefs, productive fisheries and
tourism. A primary concern is that human activities associated with upland areas
of watersheds, from ridge to shore, are adversely affecting marine resources.
Unlike pollution from a specific point source, this pollution comes from many
diffuse sources (non-point) combining to create a big problem.
Rainfall over the land surface (runoff) can pick up natural and human-made
pollutants. These pollutants include:
* Excess fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides from agricultural lands and
residential areas; -
* Motor oil, grease and toxic chemicals from homes, small businesses and
urban runoff; .-
* Sediment from unpaved roads, improperly managed construction sites,A"l
crop and forest lands and eroding stream banks;
* Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes and faulty septic systems
Many seemingly small individual actions combine to cause a big problem. Unlike
pollution from a single large point source (factory/oil spill), "non-point" source .
pollution is a combination of many small incidents. Pollutants accumulate on the
land surface and subsurface and move through the environment toward the sea.
Sediment, chemical contaminants and microscopic pathogens are carried in
rainfall runoff and contaminate our streams, groundwater and mangroves. These
pollutants ultimately reach the sea, smothering coral reefs and damaging sea
grass beds and other marine communities.
Recognizing the need for greater federal leadership to help focus on state and
local non-point source pollution efforts, in 1987 Congress amended the Clean
Water Act (CWA), establishing the Section 319 Non-Point Source Pollution
Management Program (NPS).
Under Section 319, States, Territories and Native American Tribes receive grant -
monies to help support a wide variety of activities that assist in the reduction of non-
point source pollution (i.e., technical assistance, financial assistance, education and
training, technology transfer, demonstration projects, monitoring to assess the
success of specific non-point source pollution implementation projects, etc.).
7Watershed the area that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland or, ultimately, the ocean (Source: EPA).
Non-Point Source Pollution Program
DPNR/DEP's NPS Program is coordinated through the Virgin Islands Non-Point
Source Pollution Committee, which is made up of government representatives, non-
government employees and private citizens.
DPNR and the Virgin Islands Non-Point Source Pollution Committee are successfully
using a multifaceted education and outreach approach to address this problem.
Workshops sponsored by the University of the Virgin Islands' Cooperative Extension
Service assist regulators, developers and the general public in better understanding
the impacts of erosion and sedimentation in the US Virgin Islands.
Newspaper articles inspired by committee members have widely publicized the
erosion and sedimentation problem and the resources available to help reduce its
magnitude. The annual Virgin Islands Non-Point Source Pollution Conference has
highlighted innovative methods for reducing erosion and has featured the first-ever
trade show of erosion and sediment control products in the Territory. More than
ninety percent of those participating indicated that they would implement at least
one practice presented at the conference. The NPS program is a prime example of
how government, private industry and the general public can work together for the
improvement of the quality of life in the USVI
(epa.gov/owow/NPS/Section31 911/virgin. htm ).
Additional NPS Related Activities
Review and Revision of NPS Program DPNR/DEP will
continue to review and revise the NPS Management Program
to ensure that it achieves nine key program elements, as
described in the May 1996 Non-Point Source Program and
Grants Guidance For Fiscal Year 1997 and Future Years. Memorandun
Education and Outreach Programs DPNR/DEP will Eastern CaribL
continue to guide the activities of the USVI Non-Point Source Service (CES),
Committee in an effort to address NPS issues in the Territory. Development
The DPNR/DEP will also continue to participate in various Advisory Servi
educational and environmental events that promote NPS VI (AMOVI) ar
awareness within the community and in schools, through will be institute
activities like Earth Day, Arbor Day, the Agricultural Fair and educational, d
the Annual Non-Point Source Conference.
Mapping Potential Surface and Groundwater NPS Pollution programs with
- DPNR/DEP will continue mapping potential surface and
groundwater NPS pollution threats in the USVI, using aerial
photographs with field observation, verification and
NPS Committee members at the Estate Little La Grange
Gut Restoration Project during an afternoon tour.
n of Agreements Interagency agreements
R and the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) -
bean Center (ECC), Cooperative Extension
the Virgin Islands Resource Conservation and
Council (VIRC&D), the Virgin Islands Marine
ce (VIMAS), the Association of Marina Owners
id the United States Geological Survey (USGS)
id in an effort to complete non-point source
demonstration and implementation projects.
instance Provide review and input to other
in DEP and other divisions of the DPNR.
Recent & Future Initiatives
DPNR/DEP understands that a holistic approach to data collection and resource management is required to protect USVI waters.
This approach will allow for increased protection and conservation of water resources by providing the information base to
coordinate programs within the Division. It will also enhance such efforts' effectiveness, increase their efficiency and reflect the
interrelation between various parts of the environment. To this end, innovative new programs are being created that provide a
multidisciplinary approach. Such a strategy reflects the understanding that the entire ecosystem, from "ridge to reef," is interrelated
and must be evaluated as a whole, where impacts at the mountaintop can and do affect life on the reef.
Integrated Watershed Management Plan
Resource conservation and development are not mutually exclusive. Both are necessary for our future. Unfortunately, they are not
always coordinated as well as they could be. In an effort to overcome this dilemma, one of the most exciting and comprehensive
programs being developed by DPNR/DEP-in cooperation with the EPA-is the Integrated Watershed Management Plan. This plan
will evaluate all natural systems within a watershed, identify and locate pollutant sources, estimate the contaminant contribution of
the pollutant source and measure the assimilative capacity of the watershed.
Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) will TMDL
be determined for site-specific and non- Wetlands
point pollution discharges and will either NPDES Non-Poini Sources
be regulated under the TPDES Program EQIP/CRP
or controlled under NPS (as applicable).
The inventory of resources and the WQS
authority and roles of other local and'
federal programs, such as TPDES, NPS,
Superfund, RCRA and others, will be Source Water
combined in the Integrated Watershed I Stormwater
The integration of these regulatory f
programs and resource databases will Fisheries RCRA
provide invaluable assessment and Esturies
protection capabilities. Superfund CAFOs
Under the Integrated Watershed
Under the Integrated Watershed Example -Integrated Watershed Management Plan.
Management Plan, programs can be Source: ASIWPCA Mid-Winter Meeting March 10-13,2002
modified to complement each other,
inconsistencies between programs can be eliminated and overall program capabilities can be strengthened. In addition, increased
efficiency will undoubtedly reduce costs and improve the effectiveness of these programs.
Multi-Year Monitoring Strategy
The purpose of the Virgin Islands Multi-Year Monitoring Strategy (MYMS) is to design and implement an Ambient Monitoring
Program that will result in a comprehensive and representative assessment of the water quality in the US Virgin Islands.
.-'" "" -IS. 'O ^ . .
Recent & Future Initiatives
Multi-Year Monitoring Strategy
The MYMS will be evaluated periodically to measure progress toward maintaining pristine water bodies and attaining a substantial
improvement in water quality, especially for areas of impaired or degraded water quality. Results from this strategy will be used to
aid in the design, development and management of various regulatory programs [i.e., 305(b) State Water Quality Assessment
Reports, 303(d) Impaired Water Bodies' Lists and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL)].
Basic Water Quality Monitoring Network
Traditionally, management of water resources has focused on surface water or groundwater as if they were separate entities. Yet,
nearly all surface water features (guts, impoundments, wetlands, estuaries) interact with groundwater. Actions taken with one part of
the system often have unintended consequences with other parts of the system. As development of land and water resources
intensifies, it becomes increasingly important to manage surface water and groundwater as a single entity. The Ambient Monitoring
Program is establishing and implementing the Basic Water Quality Monitoring Network.
Water quality sampling, conducted at surface and groundwater stations within this network, provides data that is and will be used to
produce assessment reports on water quality in the USVI. To improve sampling and data management efforts, DPNR/DEP is
increasing communication with other water quality monitoring entities, such as the United States National Park Service (USNPS),
United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United States Fish &
Wildlife Service (USF&W), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) and/or other
universities and non-governmental organizations.
Land Use Mapping
DPNR/DEP, in association with the University of the Virgin Island Eastern Caribbean
Center, is developing a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based digitized land
use maps-that will assist the Department in implementing its strategic, long-term
Land and Water Use Plan for the Territory. Under this system, data is collected from
all sectors of the Territory and mapped. These maps give planners information to
Make informed decisions on Earth Change Permits, large and small developments and
il o population growth patterns. They also contribute to the control of non-point source
_'-t n pollution.
Earth Change Program
As discussed in the "Groundwater" section of this report, the Division of Environmental
Protection has recently assumed administration of the Earth Change Program. Most major or minor construction projects and
changes to the "earth" in the USVI must be permitted. Construction or land alteration plans are reviewed and approved as per VI
regulations. Plans must include (where applicable) erosion control, proper drainage features, waste disposal and other pollution
The transfer of the Earth Change Program to DEP recognizes the interrelation between environmental protection and development
and will assist the Department in promoting development and conservation practices.
Wetlands, once thought to be "wastelands," are now understood
to be a vital part of our ecosystems. Although about one half of
our nation's wetlands have been lost, we are now trying to
conserve the precious wetlands that remain. Wetlands provide
many important functions. They provide protection from storms
and are homes to numerous plants and animals, including
marine species that support the fisheries industry. They filter out
land-based sediments and other pollution before it reaches the
sea. Because of these and other vital functions, wetlands are
essential to the environmental health of the US Virgin Islands.
Wetlands are defined by the EPA as "lands where saturation with
S. water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil
development and the types of plant and animal communities
living in the soil and on its surface (Cowardin, December 1979).
2 Wetlands vary widely because of regional and local differences in
soils, topography, climate, hydrology, water chemistry, vegetation
and other factors, including human disturbance. Indeed, wetlands
are found from the tundra to the tropics and on every continent
S For regulatory purposes under the Clean Water Act, the term
wetlands means "those areas that are inundated or saturated by
surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to
support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a
-i -. prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil
conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs
and similar areas." (Source EPA)
Coastal wetlands are found along the Atlantic, Pacific, Alaskan
and Gulf coasts, as well as the Caribbean Islands. They are
closely linked to our nation's estuaries, where seawater mixes with fresh water to form an environment of varying salinities. The salt
water and the fluctuating water levels (due to tidal action) combine to create a rather difficult environment for most plants to live
Consequently, many shallow coastal areas are un-vegetated mud flats or sand flats. Some plants, however, have successfully
adapted to this environment. Certain grasses and grass-like plants that adapt to the saline conditions form the tidal salt marshes
that are found along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coasts. Mangrove swamps, with salt-loving shrubs or trees, are common in
tropical climates. Some tidal freshwater wetlands form beyond the upper edges of tidal salt marshes, where the influence of salt
water ends (adapted from the EPA).
Wetlands are found on all three islands and many cays of the US Virgin Islands. Although a relatively small percentage (1,684
acres) of the Territory's total land area consists of mangroves, salt ponds and mud flats, these wetlands are often as biologically
diverse as rainforests.
Jointly and individually, DPNR/DEP programs work to protect wetlands by creating a wetlands inventory and maps, by limiting
construction or clearing of wetlands, by monitoring water quality as part of the WPC Program and by managing discharges into the
near-shore and marine environment through the TPDES and NPS Programs. DPNR/DEP works closely with the EPA, the US and VI
Departments of Fish & Wildlife, the UVI and other agencies to protect our wetlands.
Flooding is a natural phenomenon that is exacerbated by human alterations to the landscape. Due to their steep topography,
narrow stream beds, relatively small land area and geographic location, the US Virgin Islands are very susceptible to flooding.
Rainfall in the tropics usually comes in intense bursts. Floodwaters peak very rapidly. Soils cannot always absorb water quickly
enough, so water runs across the surface in ever-increasing amounts. The volume and velocity of water increases as it moves from
the hilltops through the watersheds. These resulting "flash floods" can form minutes after an intense storm and can race through
the watershed, carrying loose materials across the surface of the land into the streams to the sea. Normally, soil and plants absorb
rainfall and reduce water flow velocities. Streams and ponds collect and store excess rain and allow for recharge to groundwater.
Mangroves, salt ponds and mud flats absorb excess sediments that reach the shore, protecting the reefs and benthic communities.
Another major form of flooding is storm surge. Wave action usually increases during storms. During severe storms and high tides,
seawater can move inland causing damage to homes and roads and endangering lives.
Wetlands, mangroves, salt ponds and sand dunes protect -
shorelines against severe damage from storm surges and other -
Development, especially in flood-prone areas, improper land
clearing, paving of large areas and channeling of streams and
waterways increase erosion and runoff. The loss of woodlands,
fields, wetlands and other natural systems reduces the water
storage capacity of the land and its ability to filter runoff and
sediment moving toward the sea.
Increased erosion, runoff and reduced holding capacity of the
land allow large quantities of sediment, pollutants and other
wastes to flow into the sea, harming our near-shore and
marine ecosystems in the process.
Loss of wetlands, dunes and the buffering effects of these areas increase the likelihood and severity of storm surge flooding and
damage. Hurricanes or other major storm events can have catastrophic effects when these natural systems are disrupted or
DPNR/DEP's interdisciplinary approach to planning and conservation of natural resources includes flood mitigation measures.
Promotion of proper construction techniques, development planning, improved building codes, shoreline protection and other land
and water conservation practices aid in minimizing flood damage. Toward this end, DPNR/DEP coordinates many departmental
programs, such as Earth Change, WPC, WHPP, NPS, Land Use Planning Maps, etc.
In addition, DPNR/DEP cooperates with the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), EPA, the Army
Corp of Engineers, the USGS, Natural Resource Conservation Service USDA and other agencies to develop flood maps, conduct
flood studies, to coordinate hazard response capabilities, promote soil conservation strategies and to develop measures and
education programs for government, business and private citizens. The intent of these endeavors is to reduce potential risk factors
and lessen the negative impacts of flooding to both the environment and property.
As with other DPNR/DEP programs, cooperation among government agencies, developers, business, industry and private citizens is
Public Water Supply
One of the often-asked questions by residents and visitors to our islands is: "How is the...
quality of the water?"
Unlike many cities and small communities in our nation, with centralized water systems
operated by a single municipal or privately run public water system, the three main islands of
the USVI are host to hundreds of public water supply systems within a relatively small total -
mass of land.
Public water supply in the USVI is generally very good. However, a complete response to the .
aforementioned question, "How is the quality of the water?", is multifaceted and somewhat
dependent upon the origin or source of the water, type of water system, local conditions
and, of course, system supervision.
The topography and other natural characteristics of each of our islands and regions therein,
aging sewage systems, poorly maintained solid waste disposal facilities and rapidly changing
USVI demographics present potential threats and, in some instances, current challenges to
water quality and public water supply systems at certain locales.
Maintaining the quality of public water throughout the US Virgin Islands is high on the list of
.--" "" -. ''* ,.,. .,, .
Public Water Supply
Public Water Systems
Federal law defines a public water system as a system that provides T o P r
Types of Public Water Supply Systems
water, via piping or other constructed conveyances, for human
consumption to at least 15 service connections or serves an average of 1. Community Water System (CWS) -regularly serves the
at least 25 people for at least 60 days each year. In recognition of the same population all year round. Examples of CWS's
USVI's unique characteristics and resource management needs, local include municipal systems such as the Virgin Islands Water
laws are more stringent, requiring at least 8 service connections or 20 and Power Authority and residential developments with their
people served for at least 60 days. own water supplies. CWS's are further classified by size:
a. Large CWS Serves greater than 50,000 people.
There are three classifications of public water systems: b. Medium CWS Serves 3,301 50,000 people.
c. Small CWS Serves 3,300 or fewer people.
1. Community Water System
2. Non-Transient, Non-Community Water System 2. Non-Transient, Non-Community Water System
3. Transient, Non-Community Water System (NTNCWS) -regularly serves at least 25 of the same
persons for at least six months out of the year, such as
schools and businesses.
The primary and largest source of public water supply in the USVI is
provided by desalinization plants (saltwater conversion), which are 3. Transient, Non-Community Water System (TNCWS)
operated by the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA). serves different people at least sixty days out of the year.
Other major public water sources include cisterns/rainwater collection Examples of transient non-community systems include
systems and groundwater wells. hotels, restaurants, state parks, campgrounds and similar
locations having their own water supply.
The use of reverse osmosis treatment units to produce potable water
from brackish wells or seawater is limited, but increasing, throughout the Territory. Reverse osmosis is a water treatment method
whereby water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane (type of filter) that filters out impurities.
WAPA produces upwards of eight (8) million gallons per day (MGD) of desalinated water, with plants located on the Islands of St.
Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. In St. Croix, groundwater produced by WAPA supplies approximately 0.5 MGD (June 2003) of
additional public water supply and can produce up to 1 .0 MGD when well fields are operating at or near capacity.
WAPA serves approximately 29,000 residents on a regular basis on St. Thomas, 35,000 on St. Croix and approximately 2,000 on
St. John. Excluding transient populations such as tourists, this represents about 60% of the USVI population, or 66,000 out of
8110,000 total residents (current estimate).
While WAPA is the largest public water supplier in the USVI, the majority of public water systems in the USVI are small systems,
serving 25 to 1,000 persons. Most of these small public water systems utilize rainwater collection systems augmented by trucked
During the 2002 calendar year, there were approximately 350 public water systems in the USVI. The total number of public water
systems varies from year to year because of new business openings, closings or inactivity due to direct connection by some facilities
to public water systems.
'Total population per the 2000 US Census report was 108,612 (Population and Housing Profile: 2000)
Public Water Supply
Public Water Systems
Public water systems in the USVI are regulated by the National Safe Drinking Water Act and by the Virgin Islands Safe Drinking
Water Act, Title 19, Part VI, Chapter 51, from which the Department of Planning & Natural Resources derives its authorities. As
delegated by the DPNR, the Division of Environmental Protection has regulatory responsibility for the USVI's Public Water System
Supervision Program. This responsibility entails implementation and enforcement of drinking water laws as well as regulatory
oversight of public water systems to ensure the delivery of water that is safe for human consumption.
Public Water System Supervision Program '. ...
The mission of the DPNR/DEP's Public Water System Supervision (PWSS) Program is to
protect public water supplies in the USVI by ensuring that all public water systems,
bottled water plants and ice manufacturers, as defined under the Virgin Islands Safe r
Drinking Water Act (VISWA), comply with national and territorial drinking water rules
Under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the EPA establishes limits at which
a contaminant may be present in a water supply. These limits, or "Maximum .I-
Contaminant Levels (MCL)," help to ensure that public water supplies are safe for
human consumption. For some regulations, the EPA has established treatment
techniques in place of MCLs to control unacceptable levels of a contaminant in water.
The Federal SDWA and the Virgin Islands SDWA also govern how often a public water
system must monitor their water for contaminants and the frequency at which the results
of those tests must be reported to the DPNR/DEP. In addition, the EPA requires public
water systems to monitor and collect data on unregulated contaminants. This
information is used for the development of future drinking water regulations.
Public water system managers are required to notify persons served by their system when
it fails to comply with the requirements of the SDWA or when facing other situations that
pose a risk to public health. Public Water systems that serve 15 or more service
connections and/or are used by at least 25 year-round residents are required to
prepare and deliver a written annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) to their customers. These reports provide valuable
information on water quality to customers of community public water systems. Information contained in these reports allows
customers to make informed personal health-based decisions regarding their drinking water consumption.
The DPNR/DEP Public Water System Supervision Program submits quarterly and annual reports to the EPA that provide
comprehensive information on the accomplishment of various aspects of the PWSS Program's work plan activities (i.e., sanitary
surveys, inventory updates, violations and enforcement actions, etc.). Annual reports prepared by the Public Water System
Supervision Program are available to the public.
Public Water Supply
Public Water Systems
In addition to the aforementioned program management activities, major tasks and responsibilities of the Public Water System
Supervision (PWSS) Program include but are not limited to:
1. Surveillance & Technical Assistance
Perform sanitary surveys of public water systems;
Conduct annual registration and inspection of tankers that haul water for human consumption;
Provide technical assistance to water purveyors and investigate water quality complaints by the public.
Surveillance samples are collected during sanitary surveys of new public water systems, existing systems that have trouble
complying with drinking water standards, inspections of WAPA's facilities, special investigations of water quality complaints
made by the public and water hauler inspections. Typically, these samples are analyzed for microbiological contaminants by a
DPNR/EPA certified lab.
2. Data Management
The DEP/PWSS maintains several databases containing vital information on the Territory's public water systems and other
aspects of the PWSS Program. An inventory containing administrative and technical information on each public water system is
one of the most important databases maintained under the PWSS Program. Other databases include information on water
quality monitoring results and violations. Some of the databases and monitoring data are as follows:
Lead and Copper
The DEP/PWSS issues Notices of Violation (NOVs), Administrative Orders and civil penalties to public water systems that do not
comply with the monitoring requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
VI Drinking Water Capital
Improvement Grant Program
Water Quality & Compliance
Total Coliform: In 2002, there were 57 monitoring/reporting
(M/R) violations of the Total Coliform Rule (TCR). Failing to
conduct monitoring and/or not providing test results to the
DPNR/DE P constitutes a M/R violation. Thirty-six (36) public
water systems, representing 10% of all USVI public water
systems were responsible for these violations. This represents
a 1 7% decrease over prior year TCR violations, and results, to
a large degree, to DPNR/DEP's more aggressive outreach
policy implemented under its PWSS Program.
Nitrate Monitoring: Nitrate is used in fertilizer and is found in
sewage and waste from humans and animals. It is a known
contaminant of public water supplies.
Thirty-four (34) public water systems (9.7% of all USVI systems)
failed to monitor for Nitrate in 2002, representing a decrease
in non-monitoring violations of 52% over the prior year,
Lead & Copper Monitoring: In 2003, one hundred and
nineteen (1 9) public water systems were cited by DPNR for
failure to conduct initial and reduced lead and copper
occurs when a water
system violates the TCR
for three (3) or more
consecutive months or at
least two (2) compliance
monitoring periods for any
SNC is considered the
most reprehensible and
significant violation of the
SWDA, and is treated
Twenty-seven (27) public water systems were cited for SNC in
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) authorized a Drinking Water State
Revolving Fund (DWSRF) to assist publicly and privately owned community
water systems and non-profit non-community water systems in financing the
costs of capital improvements needed to achieve compliance with the SDWA.
Through the DWSRF, grants are available to eligible water systems within
the USVI. The Department of Planning & Natural Resources, Division pf
Environmental Protection, acting on behalf of the Government of the US
Virgin Islands, administers these grants through the Virgin Islands Drinking
Water Capital Improvement Grants (VIDWCIG) Program.
The VIDWCIG Program helps to ensure that drinking water in the Virgin
Islands remains safe and affordable, and that drinking water systems
receiving funds are properly operated and maintained.
The goals of the Virgin Islands Drinking Water Capital Improvement Grants
1. Implementing and maintaining the VIDWCIG Program for the Territory
of the Virgin Islands.
2. Providing financial assistance to eligible public water systems for eligible
projects associated with the capital improvements of water treatment,
storage and distribution facilities.
3. Helping public water systems achieve and maintain compliance with
USVI and National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.
4. Providing assistance that will enable public water systems to further the
health protection objectives of the SDWA.
5. Improving technical, financial and managerial capacity of funded public
water systems in the USVI so that they can provide safe drinking water
over the long term.
6. Making funds available to improve small public water systems
(population served: less than 3,300) of the US Virgin Islands.
Each year, the DPNR/DEP puts out a notice ("Call for Projects") and issues a
letter and a pre-application form to each public water system in the
Territory. Applications are ranked and prioritized by the DPNR/DEP and
proposed new projects are included in a project priority list. During the
development of the project priority list, DPNR/DEP also organizes a public
review and comment period.
Project Funds Available $4,983,927 $1,390,119
Number of Projects 19 17
Average Project Cost $262,312 $81,772
Minimum Project Cost $4,500 $3,320
Maximum Project Cost $825,000 $301,000
Estimated Cost Per Person $28 $63
Approximately $1,427,766 in project funds were available for 2001 and
$1,195,586 for 2002.
Public Water Supply
Major Challenges to USVI Water Quality
1. Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) remain the
greatest challenge as sewage is bypassed into the
2. The lack of Best Management Practices (BMP) in
construction that results in soil erosion and non-point
3. Failing septic systems and onsite treatment systems
continue to be prime sources of non-point source
4. Improper discharges of sewage and other wastes from
marine vessels into territorial seas and coastlines.
*What You Can Do to Protect Our Waters
What can you do to help protect USVI waters? You can start at home. Begin by taking a close look at practices around your
home that may impair groundwater and surface water quality.
* Be aware that many chemicals commonly used around the
home are toxic. When possible, select less toxic alternatives.
Use non-toxic substitutes when available.
* Buy paints, cleaning products and other chemicals only in the
amount you expect to use, and apply them only as directed.
* Take unwanted household chemicals to appropriate hazardous
waste facilities or collection centers; do not pour them down
the drain. Pouring chemicals down the drain may disrupt your
septic system or contaminate treatment plant sludge.
* Never pour unwanted chemicals on the ground. Soil cannot
purify most chemicals, and they may eventually contaminate
* Inspect your septic system annually. Improperly maintained
septic systems can contaminate both groundwater and surface
water with nutrients and pathogens.
* Pump out your septic system regularly. Pumping out every
three to five years is recommended for a three-bedroom house
with a 1,000-gallon tank; smaller tanks should be pumped
* Clean up after your pets. Pet waste contains nutrients and
pathogens that can contaminate groundwater and surface
* Recycle used oil and antifreeze by taking them to an approved
"Do It Yourselfers" (DIY) Collection Center (or oil recycling
* Never put used oil or other chemicals down storm drains or in
drainage ditches. One quart of oil can contaminate up to two
million gallons of drinking water.
* When landscaping your yard, select plants that have low
requirements for water, fertilizers and pesticides.
* Preserve existing trees and plant trees and shrubs to help prevent
erosion and to promote infiltration of water into the soil.
* Leave lawn clippings on your lawn so that nutrients in the
clippings are recycled and less yard waste goes to landfills.
* Test your soil before applying fertilizers. Over fertilization is a
common problem, and the excess can leach into groundwater or
contaminate surface waters.
* Get involved in local planning and zoning decisions and
encourage your local officials to develop water and land use
* Learn about your watershed and how non-point source pollution
affects inland and coastal watersheds.
* Participate in DPNR and other local environmental education
programs and special events.
* Encourage your neighbors and community to learn how they can
help protect water quality.
*Excerpts from US EPA Website http://www//epa.gov/owow/nps, taken from an
EPA Journal article by Robert Goo, November/December 1991, EPA-22K-1005.
Department of Planning & Natural Resources
Act 5265 of the Government Reorganization and Consolidation Act of 1987 established the United States Virgin Islands
Department of Planning & Natural Resources. The DPNR serves as the agency responsible for the administration and enforcement
of all laws pertaining to the protection, preservation and conservation of the natural resources of the USVI, including marine and
wildlife, trees and vegetation, coastal zones, air, water and land, and cultural and historical resources. The Department is also
responsible for oversight and compliance of land survey, land subdivision, development and building permits, code enforcement,
earth change permits, zoning administration, boat registration and mooring and anchoring of vessels within USVI territorial waters.
The DPNR is further obligated to formulate long-range comprehensive and functional development plans for the Territory's human,
economic and physical resources. It is mandated to promote, implement, maintain and coordinate libraries, museums and
departmental information services and to preserve items of historical significance in the archives of the Virgin Islands.
The Department of Planning & Natural Resources has many different and distinct operating divisions, work units and programs,
each with its own unique set of administrative and/or regulatory mandates. Common among all DPNR entities is the ultimate
charge-"the infinite sustainability and flourishment of the United States Virgin Islands' environment, economy, culture, people and
all living things."
A brief description of some of the DPNR's divisions and work units are summarized on the following pages.
Coastal Zone Management
In 1978, the Virgin Islands Legislature enacted the Virgin Islands
Coastal Zone Management Act as a means of regulating
development and managing coastal resources in the Territory. The
Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management Program (VICZMP) was
established to carry out the mandates and objectives of this Act.
One of VICZMP's goals is to protect, preserve and, where feasible,
enhance and restore the overall quality of the environment in the
coastal zone. VICZMP works, coordinates and partners with various
local and national government agencies to develop and implement a
variety of projects and programs, including review, processing and
enforcement of minor and major development permits in the first tier
of the coastal zone.
Division of Fish and Wildlife
The Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is charged with monitoring,
assessing and implementing public awareness and other activities that
help to enhance and safeguard fish and wildlife resources in the USVI.
The DFW is the primary scientific advisor to the DPNR's
Commissioner on the conditions of territorial wildlife and marine
resources. The DPNR Commissioner then, in turn, advises the USVI
Governor. The DFW is composed of three bureaus: the Bureau of
Fisheries, the Bureau of Wildlife and the Bureau of Environmental
Education. Unique within the DPNR, the DFW is 100% federally
funded by awards from the US Department of Interior, the US Fish
and Wildlife Service, the Federal Aid Division, the US Department of
Commerce, the National Marine Fishers Service and the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Division of Permits
The primary responsibilities of the Division of Permits are to enforce
and regulate the USVI's building codes and regulations. Major tasks
and responsibilities of this division include:
* Review of building designs, construction plans, contractor licenses
and related documents.
* Evaluation of building permit applications, issuance of permits
and permits administration. -.
* Inspection of building and construction sites.
* Monitoring of existing building codes and the proposal of new -
codes and regulations to address changing demographics, public
safety and environmental issues.
The Division also conducts public outreach programs and activities to .
educate building and construction professionals and the community at
large about USVI building codes.
Comprehensive & Coastal Zone Planning
The Division of Comprehensive & Coastal Zone Planning has
broad responsibility for long-range comprehensive planning,
subdivision and zoning administration. The Division is also
charged with providing information and technical assistance and
support to various DPNR divisions, other USVI government
Agencies, business industries and the general public on a range of
Subdivision and Coastal Zone Planning
Land and Water Use Planning, etc.
The Division of Environmental Enforcement serves as the law
enforcement arm of the Department of Planning & Natural Resources.
Its primary function is to enforce all laws applicable to the protection,
preservation and conservation of the natural resources and overall
environment of the USVI:
* Fish and wildlife;
* Antiquities and cultural resources;
* Boating safety; and
* Conditions stipulated in all permits related to development in the
Territory, issued by the Department of Planning & Natural
State Historic Preservation Office
............ Major functions of the Virgin Islands State Historic Preservation Office
include administration of the National Register of Historic Places;
surveying and inventorying of historic places and sites (on land and in
coastal waters); reviewing and ensuring of compliance with federal
and territorial preservation laws; historic preservation planning;
securing of technical assistance, implementing of public education
and identifying of cultural resources.
The Division is also responsible for reviewing rehabilitation work that
......... is eligible for federal and local tax incentives or federal grants, and
... for enforcing Acts 6234 and 2258 of the Antiquities and Cultural
"- *.' logical and historic property and cultural assets of the Virgin Islands.
Division of Libraries and Archives
Public libraries in the Virgin Islands are administered by the Division of
Libraries, Department of Planning & Natural Resources. The mission
of the Division of Libraries and Archives is to:
* Serve as a source of information and knowledge for the people of
* Maintain the records of the Government of the USVI.
* Support the development of an informed citizenry by providing
access to a world of ideas and information.
* Identify, preserve and promote the historical and public records of
* Provide support to all Virgin Islanders in their pursuit of learning.
Business and Administrative Services
The Division of Business and Administrative Services is comprised of
four units, which include: the Office of the Director; Personnel,
Budget and Grants Management; Accounting and Payroll and
Revenue and Contract Management. The Division has oversight
responsibility for all fiscal matters pertaining to budgeting, personnel
and payroll and for revenue collection involving general, federal and
other special funds for all divisions within the DPNR.
Personnel activities include planning, directing and coordinating the
preparation of local, federal, capital and special fund benefits and
personnel actions. Fiscal responsibilities include posting, reconciling
and auditing of all accounts, preparation of payroll, verification of
federal purchases for conformity with grant guidelines and oversight
of appropriations, allotments and grant awards. Revenue and
Contract Management responsibilities include the monitoring and
maintenance of all submerged and filled land leases, inclusive of
collecting fees for permits relating to such leases.
Virgin Islands Energy Office
The Virgin Islands Energy Office (VIEO) is the primary administrator of
energy programs in the USVI. Its mission is to research, select, apply,
advocate and champion energy efficiency and renewable energy
throughout the Territory.
VIEO monitors the integration of policies relating to conservation,
use, control, distribution and allocation of energy, with respect to all
energy matters. With major emphasis on the reduction of energy
costs and consumption, VIEO responsibilities include planning,
development, administration and delivery of education and
information outreach activities; implementation of technical and
financial assistance programs; securing and maintaining sound
energy resources for the USVI; and promoting and implementing
programs that foster energy efficiency.
Capital and Development Planning
The mission of the Division of Capital and Development Planning is to
plan for and to facilitate the improvement of neighborhood and
community services and facilities, especially those for the benefit of
low-to-moderate income persons and disaffected segments of the
USVI population (such as the elderly, the disabled and the homeless
as well as victims of domestic violence).
The Division carries out its mission through the application,
monitoring and evaluation of existing and proposed laws and
regulations (local and federal), through the application and
administration of grant funds and through the delivery of services and
prioritization of issues that address facility and community service
needs of its constituency. Grants include the Community
Development Block Grant, Emergency Shelter Grant and Disaster
Recovery Initiative Grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development and other sources as may be available.
DPNR MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Department ofPlanning & Natural Resources is to protect, maintain and manage the natural
and cultural resources of the Virgin Islands through proper coordination of economic and structural development
in collaboration i/th other local, federal and non-government organizations, for the benefit ofpresent and future
generations so they will live safer, fuller lives in harmony i ilh their environment and cultural heritage.
Business & Society
The term "environment" or
"environmental protection" means
many things to many people. Some
associate these terms with
conservation, as in saving gas or
electric energy, using less water, or
ecological science. Others view these
terms as meaning p... t I > i o the rain
forests and wildlife, or pit,, ,,ot'
pollution and pt '.. iL ng human life,
our water resources, land and air
from man-made chemical hazards
and industrial processes.
Environment and environmental
protection is a little bit of all those
thIi',s and more.
Perhaps the simplest way to view the
term environment is "home, "
humankind's only ,,, ihi home.
How well are you taking care ofyour
The protection, preservation and sustainability of our breathtakingly beautiful environment
depend upon a single denominator-an informed and empowered community of people
from all sectors of our society.
Education & Outreach
The most important action toward environmental protection is education. Consequently,
the mission of our Environmental Education Program is to develop awareness on all levels
by spreading our message that "Environmental Protection Begins With You." "You" being
each person and every stakeholder. After all, our actions and lifestyles have a direct impact
on our environment.
Understanding the cause, effect and impact our lives have on the environment empowers
communities to partner with agencies such as the Department of Planning & Natural
Resources to protect our environment and to improve the overall quality of life.
Everyone has a role to play, from industry to visitors, citizens and government. In
acknowledgment of the many roles and responsibilities that stakeholders carry in protecting
our environment, the Division of Environmental Protection is making a concerted effort to
educate through the use of various mediums. The mediums utilized on a broader spectrum include radio, television and the
Internet, as well as our quarterly newsletter, "Environmental Reports," and guest opinions in our locally circulated newspapers.
More targeted interactions include speaking engagements, workshops, meetings and school
outreach programs, for which our staff of scientists, engineers and environmental specialists
(including our Director and Assistant Director) are made available.
Environmental education, communication and outreach efforts are an integral part of DPNR/DEP
programs and operations. Examples include: informational and technical workshops; .
environmental compliance and financing consultation services for small businesses; full or partial
funding and administration and/or partnerships with many organizations for the delivery of activities
and events, such as the Annual Non-Point Source Conference, the NPS Booklet, local agricultural
fairs, solid waste reduction and used oil drives, certification and worker protection training for .'
pesticide applicators, hazardous material training for first responders, community right-to-know
programs, laboratory certification, various financial grant programs, etc.
Throughout the year, community outreach activities are held to address current environmental
concerns or occurrences within a specific geographic area or on a particular topic, or in response to broader territory-wide
Future educational and outreach plans slated for the Division include the establishment of environmental associations within our
schools. Through these school-based associations, students will be provided with an opportunity to learn about the environment
and to assist with departmental projects and initiatives. The production of activity booklets and short video presentations is also
being planned. This report is an example of one of our educational publications. The goal of this report-and of future
educational/outreach projects-is to provide opportunities for stakeholders to learn more about USVI, global environmental issues
impacting the Islands, DPNR/DEP programs and the Department's environmental vision for the Territory.
Non-Point Source Committee Members at the Estate Little LaGrange Gut
Restoration Project during an afternoon tour.
The leadership role and authority of the Department of Planning
& Natural Resources (and its operating divisions) as
environmental regulators is unquestionable. However, we are
wise to the reality that it is impracticable to fully execute our
regulatory commission by working only within a vacuum of rules,
regulations and enforcement.
Establishing and fostering environmental partnerships is an
important element to achieving our mission of protecting and
conserving the natural resources of the USVI and-it's smart
There are many circumstances in which it is advantageous for
national and local governments, residential communities and
private business sectors to share and join strengths identifying and
resolving environmental concerns.
Bringing together similar, diverse and sometimes conflicting
environmental interests, all with the common goal of protecting
the USVI environment, can produce amazingly positive and
Partnership activities with industry, trade associations, territorial and
federal agencies, educational institutes, residential communities and
others help to expand our body of knowledge and awareness of
local and global environmental matters. They also provide
opportunities for all parties that may otherwise not have been
possible. The benefits of environmental partnership include:
* Information sharing and distribution
* Reduction in unnecessary duplicative efforts
* Clearer lines of communication with all parties
* Broader education, expertise and competency
* Improved timeliness, efficiency and productivity
* Greater awareness and understanding of the impact of
environmental issues on the local community, culture and quality
* Augmentation of staff, technical, financial and other resources
* Improved environmental planning, decision-making and local
* Increased regulatory compliance and reduction in pollutants and
The Division of Environmental Protection has built, and continues to build, partnerships and strong working relationships with
environmental stakeholders (i.e., local and national government agencies, large and small organizations and the USVI community
As an example, various cooperative agreements with the EPA delegate certain responsibilities for national environmental laws and
broaden regulatory authorities of the Division of Environmental Protection, thereby bringing federal clout and support to the Division
while, at the same time, allowing for the management of important environmental matters from a local perspective and relevance.
The DPNR/DEP works in partnership and/or coordination with local and national government agencies as well as private and non-
profit organizations to study and monitor various environmental issues impacting the USVI. Under its National Air Toxics
Assessment initiative, the EPA recently launched a project to provide professional, technical and financial resources that expand
toxic air emissions monitoring in the USVI.
In partnership and collaboration with the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service, the DPNR/DEP provides
certification training for commercial and private pesticide applicators. The DPNR/DEP and the University of the Virgin Islands share
efforts and sponsorship and formally partner on many environmental-related projects.
The Division of Environmental Protection has established many cooperative agreements, memorandums of understandings,
partnerships and other advantageous working relationships with various organizations and communities. These agreements are too
numerous to name; however, a few are noted below.
* USVI Department of Agriculture
* Catherineberg Owner's Association
* Good for St. John, Inc.
* Estate Fish Bay Owner's Association, LTD.
* Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park
* Island Resource Foundation
* Magens Bay Authority
* National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
* Virgin Islands National Parks
* Virgin Islands Non-Point-Source Committee
* USVI Department of Public Works
* St. Croix Environmental Association
* US Virgin Islands Resource Conservation and
Development Council, Inc.
* United States Geological Survey
* US Environmental Protection Agency
* US Fish & Wildlife Service
* UVIA University of the Virgin Islands (UVI)
* Conservation Data Center (UVI)
* Cooperative Extension Service (UVI)
* Eastern Caribbean Center (UVI)
* Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service (UVI)
* Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority
* Water Resources Research Institute (UVI)
* We Grow Food, Inc.
Small Business Assistance
Small businesses are a major part of the United States Virgin Islands' business sector, helping to boost the economy in high times
and sustaining it during weaker times. Nationwide, small businesses produce two out of every three new jobs.
Due to limited financial, technical and/or manpower resources, small businesses are sometimes disproportionately affected by
government regulations and paperwork. While the need to regulate environmental protection matters is important and ever-
present, it's also vital that small businesses operate in a climate that fosters growth and prosperity. The cost-benefit of such an
approach is favorable to both small businesses and to the USVI community at large.
For many small businesses, determining whether or not environmental rules and regulations apply can be difficult. After a
determination is made, an understanding of what permits are required, who issues those permits and the specific requirements of all
necessary permits can be an even greater challenge.
The entire process of environmental regulatory compliance can be daunting for even the most experienced business operator,
especially while working to start or maintain a small business.
r 1Top 10 Small Business in the US Virgin Islands
9Small businesses represent essentially all environmental issues Top 10 Small Business in the US Virgin Islands
impacting the USVI as a whole. Generally, while small business 40 80 120 180 200 240
activities individually do not contribute large amounts of pollution Painting Contractors
to the atmosphere, land or water, taken collectively, they emit
more of certain types of pollutants than do some large industries.ansca
Hotels & Guest Houses
In terms of environmental health, safety and protection, small Gasoline Stations
business is big business.
Taking into consideration the large number and types of small Farming, Plant &Animals
businesses in the USVI, a major challenge to environmental Combustion Engine &
protection and conservation is knowledge and awareness by all Standby Generator
USVI small business owners of the environmental rules and Garage/Auto Body/Repair
regulations applicable to their specific business and industry. This
includes requirements for air pollution or other environmental Real Estate
permits, as well as general business licensing. General Contractors
40 80 120 180 200 240
St. Thomas/ St. John
The above chart excludes government agencies and trade associations
'The 1990 Clean Air Act defines a small business as a stationary source of emissions that: is owned or operated by a person employing 100 or fewer individuals; is a small
business concern as defined in the Small Business Act; is not a major stationary pollution source as defined in Titles I and III of the Clean Air Act Amendments; does not emit
more than 50 tons per year of any regulated pollutant; and emits fewer than 75 tons per year of all regulated pollutants.
Small Business Assistance
Local small business industries identified by DEP's Small Business Technical Assistance Program staff are shown below.
Aviation 14 7 21
Automotive Mechanical Road Service 16 3 19
Automotive Towing and Wrecking Service 51 11 62
Auto Polishing Shops 10 2 12
A/C Refrigeration 59 42 101
Asphalt Batching 4 1 5
Boat Building and Repair 23 4 27
Bakeries 28 14 42
Blasting 6 6 12
Combustion Engine and Standby Generators 104 81 185
Concrete Pumping 11 9 20
Dairies 1 1 2
Distilleries 1 4 5
Dry Cleaners/Laundromats 29 18 47
Engineering 46 13 59
Exterminating and Pest Control 12 3 15
Farming, Plant and Animals 36 89 125
Furniture Manufacturing and Repair 15 3 18
Flower Conservatory and Nursery 11 7 18
Fiberglass Shops 1 1 2
Garage and Auto Body Repair Shops 132 110 242
General Contractors 236 179 415
Gasoline Stations 44 30 74
General Manufacturing 19 2 21
Government Agencies/Trade Associations 85 91 176
Hazardous Waste Contractor 9 6 15
Hazardous Chemicals 22 15 37
Hospitals and Clinics 5 4 9
Hotels and Guest Houses 39 32 71
Janitorial Services 45 12 57
Jewelry and Watch Repair 17 11 28
Landscaping/Garden Maintenance 39 29 68
Lawnmower Repair Shop 1 2 3
Machine Shops 21 5 26
Medical Testing Labs 11 4 15
Printing and Publishing House 17 9 26
Pollution Control Service 4 4
Photographic Processing 22 11 33
Painting Contractors 50 18 68
Plumbing 42 26 68
Q. A. Laboratories 17 18 35
Real Estate 148 105 253
Roofing Contractors 9 6 15
Sign/Painting 6 1 7
Silk Screening 11 1 12
Septic Cleaning and Sewage Maintenance 10 4 14
Telecommunications Companies 13 2 15
Tree Surgery 2 1 3
Underground Storage Tanks 22 16 38
Veterinarian Services 4 4 8
Waste, Water and Sludge Removal 3 1 4
Welding Services 34 14 48
Wood Finishes/ Woodworking 19 10 29
Under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Congress envisioned that each state and territory would need to develop a plan for
assisting small businesses in meeting the requirements of the Act. Three (3) specific components requiring assistance and outreach
to small businesses were written into the Clean Air Act:
1. The appointment of a state/territorial small business ombudsman;
2. The appointment and ongoing operation of a seven-member state/territorial compliance advisory panel; and
3. The establishment of a comprehensive small business technical assistance program.
B USNS SOCIETY
Small Business Assistance
The role of the small business ombudsman is to:
Facilitate communication between businesses and the Department of Planning & Natural Resources, and with other environmental
* Serve as an advocate for small businesses in the investigation and resolution of complaints and disputes;
* Work to provide small businesses with insight into governmental processes, including informing them of their appeal rights;
* Promote active small business participation in the development of environmental regulations;
* Provide free help to small businesses with grievances related to environmental issues.
* The USVI Small Business Technical Assistance Program was established in January 1993.
I DPNR/DEP Small Business Technical Assistance Program
isX. Established in January 1993, the USVI Small Business Technical Assistance Program
S(SBTAP) is managed and administered by the Division of Environmental Protection,
Department of Planning & Natural Resources, in partner-ship with the US Environmental
Protection Agency. Funded by the DEP's Title V Air Pollution Control Fund, the SBTAP's
40 mission is to assist small business owners in participating in rule development and in
W- if complying with clean air and other environmental rules and regulations, in the most cost-
Serving Small Businesses and the Environment effective manner possible.
Through training, education and consultation services, the SBTAP helps small business owners learn how to identify and understand
which environmental rules apply to their operations, how to meet those requirements, how to keep records, and how to obtain
financing for pollution-control equipment at the best available terms. Assistance is also provided in the form of onsite visits or
assessments, which are conducted by SBTAP's environmental engineers and program coordinators.
ThWyMLRUMALLN TAL FTfCT IM
a *'" '"F
Small Business Assistance
DPNR/DEP Small Business Technical Assistance Program
SBTAP works to ensure that clean air regulations do not unduly
burden small businesses. General services offered by the SBTAP
* Assisting small businesses in identifying rules and regulations
that apply to their specific industry and operations.
* Responding to questions, providing consultation and
information and training and guiding small businesses on how
to comply with clean air and other environmental rules.
* Helping small businesses to understand their rights and
obligations and assisting them in the identification of and
application for environmental financial resources.
* Providing onsite "compliance" assessments for small business
facilities. Violations uncovered during the site visit will not
result in fines or penalties, provided that such violations are
corrected within a reasonable period of time.
* Acting as an advocate for small businesses and providing
coordination and assistance in the establishment and ongoing
activities of the USVI's small business ombudsman and
compliance advisory panel.
Annually, the Small Business Technical Assistance Program
reaches over 2,000 individual businesses through its newsletter,
telephone and consultation services. It also hosts a variety of
environmental training workshops throughout the USVI, with more
than 120 members of the business community participating each
year. The SBTAP provides these services free of charge through
its St. Thomas/St. John and St. Croix District offices.
Compliance & Enforcement
Complying with environmental regulations and protecting both
public health and the environment are almost synonymous.
These tasks are also not a bad place to start when carrying out
our responsibilities of enforcing and assuring compliance with
environmental laws and regulations in the USVI.
We take quite seriously our responsibility for compliance and
enforcement of environmental regulations as we do our role in
the protection of both public health and the environment. The
DPNR/DEP is learning to work smarter and more efficiently by
endeavoring to provide a more balanced, commonsensible
approach to regulating and enforcing environmental protection in
While a major part of our compliance management efforts
involve facility and site inspections, permitting, compliance
reporting and other environmental monitoring processes, we have
learned that in many cases, the quickest means to ensuring
compliance with environmental laws and regulations is through
information, coordination and collaboration.
The DPNR/DEP strives to work closely and proactively in assisting
business and communities with environmental compliance
training, guidance, information and other activities that bolster
our compliance and enforcement efforts.
Our first notice of an environmental incident often comes directly
from the community, in the form of individual citizens calling to
inform us of hazardous situations.
To augment and expand our environmental compliance and
enforcement resources, we partner and coordinate with other
local and national government agencies, such as DPNR's Division
of Environmental Enforcement and Coastal Zone Management
Program, the VI Police Department, the EPA, the Department of
Justice and other organizations.
We have also made substantial progress in environmental
compliance and enforcement through business and community
education and outreach programs, and technical assistance.
Assistant Director Leonard G. Reed
oversees environmental compliance
and enforcement matters within the
Division of Environmental Protection.
In November 2002, the US Attorney
District of the Virgin Islands honored
Assistant Director Reed with the US
Attorney's LEO Award for "Sustained
Exceptional Defense of the
The Division of Environmental Protection is a regulatory body within the Department of Planning & Natural Resources, Government
of the United States Virgin Islands. In collaboration with various DPNR divisions, the Division of Environmental Protection is
entrusted with responsibility for environmental protection and with the enforcement of USVI environmental laws and regulations and
certain national environmental laws, as delegated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
As codified within various chapters of the Virgin Islands Code (VIC), mandates of the Division of Environmental Protection are to
protect and conserve the natural resources of the United States Virgin Islands, air, water and land upon which life depends, and the
health, comfort and repose of the public.
The DEP has two office locations. The Frederiksted office (pictured) serves the St. Croix community. Serving the islands of St.
Thomas and St. John, DPNR/DEP's second office is located in the USVI capital city of Charlotte Amalie, on the 2nd floor of the
main Cyril E. King Airport building.
Major operating units, programs and staff numbers managed by the Division of Environmental Protection are shown below.
Air Pollution Control 4.5 4.5 8 9 10
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund 2 2 2 2 2
Financial Programs/Administrative 7 8 11 11 12
Groundwater 1.3 1.3 1.5 1.5 1.5
Legal Staff 2 2 4 4 4
Non-Point Source Pollution 2 2 5.3 6 8
Pesticide Control 1 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5
Public Water System Supervision 6 6 4 4 4
Quality Assurance/Quality Control 1 1 1 1 1
Small Business Technical Assistance 2.5 3 3 3 4
Solid Waste 1 3 4 2 5
Super Fund 1 1 1 1 1
Underground Storage Tank 0.5 0.75 0.75 2 2
Water Pollution Control 6 6 9 9 10
Water Quality Management Planning 1 1 1 1 1
Wellhead Protection Program 0 0 0 0.5 0.5
Wetlands Program 0 0 1 1 1
Total 38.8 43.05 58.05 59.50 68.05
The Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA) Program interacts with and is an essential element of all DPNR/DEP operations and
functions. QA is responsible for ensuring that all environmental assessment activities performed by DPNR/DEP personnel are
delivered at the highest possible level of quality. This includes responsibility for the collection and generation of internal data as
well as oversight of externally collected data.
The EPA requires that all state and territorial agencies involved in the collection and generation of environmental data for the
purposes of environmental health protection and compliance develop and maintain a quality assurance program.
Sufficient quality system activities must be in place to provide reasonable assurance that environmental data generated and
prepared is scientifically valid, of adequate statistical quantity, of known precision and accuracy, of adequate completeness,
representative and comparable and, where required, is legally defensible.
The DPNR/DEP believes that quality assurance in its environmental operations is imperative. Environmental quality assurance
provides many benefits. Most important, it contributes to public health and safety, economic development, operational efficiencies,
fiscal responsibility, and technical and professional credibility.
Major tasks and responsibilities of DPNR/DEP's QA Program include:
1. Development, management and maintenance of the DPNR/DEP's written quality assurance management plan (QAMP).
2. Review and approval of quality assurance project plans (QAPPs) and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all DPNR/DEP
environmental programs. Review and approval of QAPPs and SOPs for all contractors and permittees performing work on
behalf of the DPNR and/or permittees.
3. Assisting and working closely with DPNR/DEP program coordinators and supervisors in the implementation of QA activities.
Performing system and performance audits of DPNR/DEP technical staff and work practices.
4. Providing technical assistance to programs and obtaining assistance from the EPA's Quality Assurance Office as necessary.
5. Performing annual management system reviews (MSRs) of all applicable DPNR/DEP programs.
6. Performing annual file management and record-keeping audits on all programs.
7. Preparing and submitting quarterly and annual accomplishment reports, in addition to quality assurance work plans.
8. Overseeing the Drinking Water Laboratory Certification Program (DWLC). Performing system and performance audits on the
field activities of the Public Water Supply System Program.
9. Ensuring that all contract laboratories used to analyze USVI drinking water samples have been certified to perform these
Drinking Water Laboratory Certification Program
All environmental laboratories, both government and privately owned, that supply data for
decisions relating to compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act must be certified.
Administration and oversight of the Drinking Water Laboratory Certification Program in the
US Virgin Islands is provided under DPNR/DEP's QA Program.
DEP's QA staff manages the day-to-day operations of the Laboratory Certification Program,
including the review of laboratory quality assurance plans, performance testing (PT), and the
issuance of certifications, pursuant to each laboratory's compliance with all criteria and
quality control standards required by the SDWA.
Nearly five years ago, we set out to revise planning processes at
DEP in an effort to enhance accountability and improve our ability
to track performance. To better strategize our vision of the
Territory's environmental needs, we took into account not only the
values and interests of USVI citizens but those of other
stakeholders (local and national, business, government and other
sectors) as well. We listened, asked questions, collaborated,
learned and relearned. We then initiated constructive changes on
how we do business.
Key challenges have been to develop, prioritize and deliver new
plans, strategies and work products, both organizationally and
culturally, while still meeting ongoing operational mandates and
maintaining services to the community and other environmental
With a newfound team spirit, the DPNR/DEP developed and
published its 5-Year Strategic Plan, covering fiscal years 2000
through 2005. Work has also begun on the development of a
long-term, 25-year environmental vision for the Territory. This
undertaking rests high among some of DEP's most
comprehensive and significant projects.
New USVI environmental regulations and/or legislation
addressing pesticides (use, sales and manufacturing),
Underground Storage Tanks and the VI Sewage Infrastructure
Research Demonstration Project have been drafted. Efforts to
develop several vitally important environmental programs have
begun (Vehicle Air Emissions, Brownsfields, Beach Monitoring,
DPNR/DEP's outreach activities, grant funds awarded to both
local businesses and community organizations and grants
received by the DEP have set new levels of achievement.
As a result of our renewed and increased public awareness
efforts, compliance with public drinking water and waste oil
disposal regulations have greatly improved in all sectors,
S business, government, schools and residential facilities. This
report and its contents, which we view as an evolving product,
also represent some of the fruits of our labor and new strategies
for achieving our environmental objectives.
While the DEP is steadily progressing toward its aims, there is much in the short and long-term to be accomplished.
Management and treatment of solid waste and wastewater remain at the top of the Territory's list of critical environmental concerns.
Implications of these issues cross many environmental areas, including water quality, public and private drinking water supplies, air
pollution, damage to land, ecological systems and other environment interests, and human and animal safety and health.
These environmental concerns, most particularly wastewater treatment and solid waste management (local landfill issues) in the
USVI, also have major legal and liability consequences. Recent and prior (1984) legal actions and compliance orders issued by the
DPNR and the federal government concerning raw sewage releases and other USVI waste facility/management matters have not
Along with DPNR and federal legal mandates calling for the correction and improvement of the above matters, various
organizations, local and national, are working toward the resolution of these very critical environmental matters (i.e., the
Government of the US Virgin Islands, the Department of Public Works, DPNR's Division of Environment Protection, other DPNR
divisions, the EPA, etc.).
Goals and Opportunities
The Division of Environmental Protection has identified goals, opportunities and strategies, both internally and externally, that affect
the Division's activities and the safekeeping of our environment. We have also evaluated and taken into consideration potential
Major goals and opportunities of the Division include, but are not limited to:
* Effective and Innovative Environmental Leadership
* Long-Term 25-Year Environmental Vision
* Safe, Healthy and Prepared Communities
* Open, Proactive and Efficient Government
* Informed and Involved Citizens
* Trained, Professional Workforce
We believe our goals to be straightforward and achievable.
Goals and Opportunities
Current and future major DPNR/DEP projects and activities in support of stated goals are summarized below.
* Revise local Air Pollution Regulations to include the control of
* Issue Title V Operating Permits to all identified air pollution sources
that are subject to Title V of the Clean Air Act.
* Coordinate, collaborate and initiate efforts to develop a vehicle
emissions inspection and monitoring program that will help ensure
that USVI vehicles meet national standards for tail pipe emissions.
Bring all underground storage tank (UST) owners and operations into
compliance with financial responsibility provisions of the USVI UST
* Implement the national Grants Reporting and Tracking System (GRTS)
as the main reporting vehicle for the 319 NPS Grant Program (i.e.,
non-point source pollution projects under Section 319 of the Clean
* Implement Earth Change Permitting Program (responsibility was
recently transferred to DEP from another division).
* Implement Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for Salt River Bay and
Marina on St. Croix, and Vessup Bay and Magens Bay on St.
* Draft and have enacted new groundwater laws and regulations.
* Partner with local schools to develop "School Based Environmental
Clubs" in an effort to promote and heighten student awareness and
interest in USVI environmental matters. Implement and deliver education
and outreach programs through hands-on environmental activities and
* Develop an environmental video to aid in educating students and the
community on environmental protection issues and DPNR/DEP program
* Develop and provide free workshops to educate small businesses within
the Territory on regulatory changes, environmental compliance and
* Coordinate with local and federal government agencies and provide
regulatory oversight to ensure that USVI waste disposal sites are brought
into compliance with all applicable laws, both local and federal.
* Coordinate and assist in the establishment of a commercial used oil
acceptance program at HOVENSA and the Virgin Islands Water and
* Permit and regulate all used oil generators and transporters in the
Revise and draft new pesticide rules and regulations to meet evolving
environmental safety and health issues, and to require local
registration of pesticides.
* Obtain Territorial Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES)
general permitting authority to efficiently issue storm water and
decentralized wastewater systems (OSDS) permits.
* Perform inventory and assessment of USVI wetlands.
* Establish wetlands restoration in highly impacted areas.
* Develop operator certification and training program for operators of
community and non-transient non-community public water systems.
* Develop and implement regulations for roof-coating materials that
reduce potential health risks associated with roof catchment systems.
* Develop departmental Quality Assurance (QA) policy addressing the
regulation of wastewater laboratories, training and certification
requirements for wastewater operators.
* Perform QA audits of all 319 NPS projects that are conducting
monitoring to determine proper QA protocol.
* Coordinate efforts within the various work units of the Division of
Environmental Protection to develop a formal proposal and apply for a
Brownfields Voluntary Clean Up Grant from the US Environmental
Underroun Storge Tnks Psticdes
Water Quality &Related Program
Education/Outreach & Sma~ll Busiess Gvernace & ualit Assuance
2004 State of the Environment US Virgin Islands
This report was developed and produced by the USVI Division of
Environmental Protection, Department of Planning & Natural Resources, with
the assistance of Sage Information Management & Business Alliance LLC
and Simba-Sage St. Croix (http://www.sagemgmt.com).
USVI locations were photographed by the late Burnham James Malicay
(Stan) of Simba-Sage St. Croix. Copyright 2002-2004 Simba-Sage LLC.
All rights reserved.
VI National Park locations shown on pages 13 and 15 were photographed by
Q.T. Luong. Copyright Q.T. Luong/Terragalleria.com All rights reserved.
Additional photography credits: Department of Planning & Natural
Resources, Division of Environmental Protection, USVI Government, US Fish
& Wildlife Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, Getty Images,
Fotosearch LLC and Corbis.