The Daily News. Friday, July 2.1999
EPA, other agencies conduct investigations at Bovoni lagoon
This fnal column on the Bovoti
lagoon environment will focus on
the recentM research conducted in the
ame. The past two columns gave a
briefhistoy culturally, enviroesnmn-
tally, and past research projects in
As a people, we failed to have a
proper plan for these Virgin Islands
developments. RI is sad that we con-
tinue to fight among ourselves polil.
ically when its come to land use
issue. Because of no proper plan in
place to guide these islands growth,
we continue to impact the environ-
meOt negatively. socially and affect
the developmental process of our
There is a comprehensive land
and water use plan to guide these
islands imo the 21 century. Butl the
politics of these islands so often gets
in the way of the plan becoming a
reality. It is not a perfect plan, but a
plan that will guide these Wiland
growth. I attended all the public
heanngs on St. Croix about the pro.
posed land ure plan in the curly
1J90s. I also gave my expertise
freely to the Department of Planning
and Natural Resaurces who were
responsible for the development of
the plan. Today. I still continue to
educate the public on dhe land use
plan issue every sooften in my envi-
ronmental column in The Daily
The Bovoni landfill is one of
those issues we are facing today
because of no planning. The lives of
people on the East End of St.
Tho near the landfill and beyond
me threatened health wise due to
poor lad use plan of the island.
Ever so eoen the lndfll bums out
of control winding pollution of dif-
foren kinds into the air. Because of
Sen. Adlh "Foncie" DoIoasog and
others efforts. the Public Health
Service Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry
conducted an investigation on the
Although air pollution from he
Bovoni landfill poses a serious
health problem, fish that ame caught
within the lagoon environment or
adjacent waters can be a potential
health problem for consumers.
Thus, the recent investigation on the
Iovoni lagoon conducted by toxi-
cologists and medical officers ofthe
federal agency was to determine
whether any contaminants in the
lagoon environment or adjacent
waters po.cd any health threats to
residents that consumed fish from
ihce title of the nIn%,isgation was
inocstigation of Contaminant
Levc.th m i sh from the Bovoni
Mangrove Lagoon." Before the
Federal investigation team conduct.
ed any research at the Bovoen
lagoon. they reviewed other work
that was done in the past of the area.
The ATSDR mentioned, "while
theme were several reports on the
lagoon, none contained environ.
mental data, such as surface water
sampling, for ATSDR to review and
evaluate." ATSDR is referring to
the Agency for Toxic Substances
and Disease Registry.
In January of 1998 the EPA con-
Mase ducted sampling of groundwater
sediment. and leachat at the
v Bovoni landfill area. Samples were
Our analyd for onv organic
Environment compounds. PCB's. aeals. VOC'sa
and pe=Zicide. The ATSDR report
stated."Leaschet mthus documetae-
ed execodances of federal marine
In the report from ATSDR to Se. chronic chromiumm. lead) and aut
Donatorg's office, it said in one (arsnic. nickd. zinc) ambient water
section. "Trapping rults from the quality criteria (AWQC). Maximum
inner Mangrov Lagoon as in the contamninant levels (MCL)were also
1980's indicated that while fish exceeded for aluminum. arsenic.
caught appeared healthy. occasional and manganese. The groundwater
individual fish had surface growths smuple exceeded acute and chronic
or deformities. No fish sampling AWQC for sliver and nickel."
data was available for ATSDR to This research conducted by dhe
review and evaluate: therefore, it is EPA indicated that most of the con-
impossible to make a public health taminants they found maybe a factor
statement concerning the ingestion to the high level of metals in the
of fish from the inner lagoon area," Bovoni lagoon cnvironomerm.
The Bovoni Mangrove lagoon isa ATSDR conducted their own
nursery for numerous Caribbean rescatch on some of the species of
reef fish Such fish as grant and par- fish in the lagoon environment
at fish are abundant species in the Such fish as jack. pray snapper.
lagoon Other species of fish arc mouth grunt. blue-Anped grunt.
sea bream schoolmaster. barracuda Spanish gnrun. and others were
and yellowtail snapper. caught and tested. All the shellfish
These fish may have been and fish from the Bovoni lagoon
exposed to toxins from the landfill were analyzed for organochlorine.
while they fed within the lagoon polychlorinated bipheyls. pesIi-
envimnument. According to ATSDR. cides. and mercury.
they said they were not able to According to dh ATSDR results,
obtain information on recreational the mercury concentraions at the
fisherman. However, registered Bovoni lagoon were low not
commercial fishermen in the St. exceeding FDA slilandis, which is
ThomasSt. Joha district received one ppm. They stated,
information provided by the "Consumption of fish from the
DepartmentofPlanningandNatural lagoon would not be expected to
Resources' Division of Fish and pose a health hazard for mos ury
toxicity. even for a sport fusherma
who ate several fish meals per
week." Other contannmu us such as
PCB, nickel and lead found in tested
ush at dhe lagoon were not high
enough to cause a concern for
humann consumption. For pesticides,
none of the chemicals found in fish
a the lagoon posed a health hazard
for consumers of the fish.
In conclusion. ATSDR stated,
"Metals and oaganochlorine chemi-
cals were not detected in fish and
shellfish from the Bovoni Mangrove
Lagoon at level of public health
concem. This finding should be dis-
linguished from the public health
assessment released by ATSDR in
January 1998 which found physical
hazard and comaminams in smoke
to be potential public health hazard.
Fish and shellfish from the inner
lagoon could become contaminated
with infectious microbiological
agents from wastewater discharges
itoe Turpentine Run-
ATSDR recumnoendationh were.
"Fish and shellfish from the Inner
lagoon should not be eaten because
of possible contamination with
infectious microbiological agents."
Yes. they found certain chemicals in
fish at the lagoon. But the biggest
polluter in the Virgin Islands is the
government of the Virgin Islands
with the discharge of human waste
into the Bovoni lagoon.
Thui arride reflects the trew of
Olasee Dtvis. a St. Crix ecologist,
activi aondwe rtrerM* asemaster
of sciee degree n roge mnage-
ant rednosty ecotogy.