22 The Day Neta Fr. Decanter 9,1s94
Vialco's gone but its red mud isn't
The Dec. 2.1994. front page of d nd an impoant a yabiattfor Oil Virgin Islands Corp. refinery
The Daily News had a piatn of de a diveity of aquatic and wildlife ad then Harvey Alnina Corp.'s
red mud at the Virgin Islands A- spedcis. Before Europeans arrived plant brought irvrtsible enviro-
mi. Cop. a rajor baoxit pre onS Craoix .ll this area w coweed OLse mo tal change to the ae's whle
ceting plant n the South Shore of with native vegetation and a thick Davis asyse
SL Crori. The paper funher men. maogove foet tih std ed to fier historic colonial cemetly is
tioned that Vi lco is closing and aod lease rnsoff waler befr i located at the alninsa plant now
laying off 400 workers. Before I go enteredm Or niir n o ed by Viao.
iolothnea e of diir utI e.I will Idi al sored the area as To the m o hprdi pelty, a
g iv ef hbiory ofthis a. laing and fishinggroMd mdoand a prehitorki she wa destroyed dr-
A oe time, thc Kause agoo waserway osasil tpriver n oSt ved to aidt la r tol plos for sug- ng Cion of the l and it
on SL Croix's Sm Shor was the River Bay. During die plantaon arcane production. Toe deanreetio
rmtory's hes mang ve lagoon e ta, he forest in his ea m co- of the lgoo by S ildifigm e tHess VSeeOLASEEaed ngpage
Trhsoe we Nesvn uree. Detestrnao 09.14 2a
OLASEE: No research done on effects of red dust
Continued from page l
road. Also on the pmropery and visi
ble from Melvin H. Evans Highway
are remain of three plantation
homer drads e
Before dredging and filling.
K Tnse Lagoon was nominated in
the early 1960s to become the
"Krause Lagoon Wildlife Refuge."
This game rcrve at that time was
ontisned of more Ihn 200 acres of
Before sommeriai suga.rcne
was phased out on St. Croix in
1966. lalk was heard and reursech
wae done about growing 2.500
acres of orange trees to produce
fruil o be prcesrsed and shipped
for exp`. Tie idea of esabhliehin
an industrial area on Ihe South
Shore emerged at this lime. Politics
wao at work in this whole move
from an grieoutun.bal-td sugar
cara esonoty ra an enetosti yoe.
Political leaders the decided to
establish an industrial complex on
the South Shoe.
Today, the plant occupes 1,400 pollution is a serious problem on S.
acre.S Vinlco in the successor to Croix's South Shore. Residents
Martin ManeiIt, which purchased across the industrial areas suffer
the plant from Harvey Alumina from skin diseases, itchy and bum.
Corp. in the late 1960s. Martin ingeyes pse lomace sand irria-
Mariu closed the plant in 1985. t ed spratory racts. People often
was oldin 1989 for $45 million. mplain of odor of ren eggs or
At full capacity. it producer onions ht linger in the area for 30
700.000 onsof alumina per year. minutes or more.
Alumina in an intermediate From ihe Harvey public hosing
product used in making aluinnum, community, Strawbe y m ad down-
One million metric tons of bauxite wind to Estate Whim. air-borne
ore are shipped every year from dou staoles on roofop and washer
South America to Vialco e w the into hois ehald cisiems. This silua.
ore is dissolved with concentrated tion of ViaIo red mud duot in the
causta soda to extract alumina. air is serious. Yet, to my knowl-
Approximatcly 250.000 metric Mons edge. no scientific studies have
of red mud are lnel ash a byodut. been done on this widespread pomb-
Other ancillary processes lmofrdulonresidens'rooftop
involved in alumina sprduetion ase Runoff from he red mud railings
bauxite crushing and grdinding, red at the Vi plant is another source
mud sedimenmlian, washing, clear of pollution. While surface water
liquor fi.mion. seeded crystaltia. nens into cooling ponds, excessive
lion. vacuum Blash heat intenheenge, nuerienes have resulted in algal
calcination, electrical power, air blons in these ooling ponds. Su-.
genelation. stem and distribution pended solid waste composed of
of dhe prd.cth blute-areen al. e ad raoce meeis,
The Virgin Islands public is in
the dark whee it r es to the ope .
alIons of Vialco and HOVIC. Air
including chromium, copper,
renie,. inc and lead. are being dis
charged into the Aluronix Channel.
In turn. marine life such as fish
rdi other organisms ae being con-
minated. and fishermen use fish
e and dive for conch and lobster
tO the area. The outcome of people
oleing his fish is unttnown.
SGroundwaiter conamination also
lis been reported. Believe me, if
ele red mud burst into the ocean. it
tOUld affect the Caribean's entire
fishing industry. It woutd be an oo-
cThoi..], ..'.r" t el i-.l.t
*1e Ui?. ;Ia t ,i a t.. : II "r
nltnlt e ill tt. '.; i a, .
_ 5.O el Ir-
Olabre Davi. who holds a uems
rv eftesrc degree in r ve man.-
nagmens and foresrry ecology, is a
Sr. Croix eIofoint. eCivii and