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EPA To Hold Public Meeting on Cleanup at Tutu Wellfield Superfund Site on St. Thomas

Location of the groundwater treatment plant at the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Curriculum Center in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (Photo courtesy of EPA)

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a cleanup plan to modify current cleanup activities at the Tutu Wellfield Superfund Site on St. Thomas.

Previous industrial and commercial activities at the site contaminated the soil and groundwater with chlorinated volatile organic compounds.

EPA’s proposed action expands and enhances the groundwater cleanup system that is currently operating at the site.

“EPA is moving forward to address contamination at this site against the backdrop of the continuing recovery of the U.S. Virgin Islands from Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.  “Our proposal would expand the reach of and enhance the effectiveness of the existing groundwater pump and treat system to better capture and reach more sources of contamination in the groundwater, which ultimately means we are better protecting people’s health.”

The one and a half square-mile site is in the Anna’s Retreat section of St. Thomas. In response to past releases of hazardous substances from area businesses, EPA required each responsible party to address soil contamination on their respective properties and the groundwater contamination that emanated from their operations. EPA also conducted a soil cleanup at the Virgin Islands Department of Education Curriculum Center and constructed a system to pump and treat groundwater underneath the entire site, which began operation in 2004. The U.S. Virgin Islands’ government is currently running this system.

EPA’s proposed cleanup plan would add additional wells to pull out groundwater from more of the areas that are the source of contamination and make the system more effective. The cleanup proposal also includes reinjection of treated, clean groundwater to create an underground barrier downgradient of the source area. In addition, the proposal calls for long-term monitoring and restrictions on the use of groundwater in the vicinity of the site.

EPA will hold a public meeting on August 23, 2018 to explain the proposed cleanup and other options considered and to take public comments. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Grace Gospel Chapel located at 148-320-321 & 322 Estate Anna’s Retreat, St. Thomas. Comments will be accepted until September 7, 2018.

Written comments may be mailed or emailed to: Caroline Kwan, Remedial Project Manager

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, N.Y., N.Y., 10007 or e-mail: kwan.caroline@epa.gov or 1 (212) 637-4275.

To learn more about the cleanup or to review EPA’s proposed plan, please visit: www.epa.gov/superfund/tutu-wellfield

On the one-year anniversary of the EPA’s Superfund Task Force Report, EPA announced significant progress in carrying out the report’s recommendations.  These achievements will provide certainty to communities, state partners, and developers that the nation’s most hazardous sites will be cleaned up as quickly and safely as possible.

EPA’s new “Superfund Task Force Recommendations 2018 Update” is available at: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations-2018-update

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page,

http://facebook.com/eparegion2.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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