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Senator Barnes Decries Sewage Problem At Arthur Richards Junior High School

FREDERIKSTED — St. Croix Senator Alicia Barnes expressed her dismay surrounding the recent sewage problems faced by the modular units at the Arthur Richards Junior High School that led to an early dismissal on Thursday.

According to a release from the Department of Education on March 21, students attending Arthur Richards Junior High School and Alexander Henderson Elementary School, who are temporarily sharing space, were dismissed early due to sewage issues at the new modular units.

During a walk-through of the modular units on February 7 and prior to opening its doors to students, staff, and faculty, Senator Barnes specifically asked AECOM representatives and DOE staff about the commissioning, operations, preventative maintenance plan, and spare parts for the waste water management system.

On February 10, Senator Barnes penned a letter to Commissioner Nominee Raquel Benjamin-Berry requesting a copy of the operations manual, preventative maintenance plan, and a spare parts inventory for the waste water treatment facility on the site.

The Department of Education responded to Senator Barnes on February 14, stating that, “VIDE is working with AECOM and DPNR to ensure a smooth start-up and operation of the packaged sewage plant at Arthur Richards Junior High School. AECOM has scheduled commissioning of the plant by the manufacturer, Florida Aquastore on February 18, 2019 along with two additional days of hands on training for VIDE personnel. We are developing the operations manual, preventative maintenance plan and spare parts inventory which will be completed on February 22, 2019.”

Senator Barnes ended by stating that the resolution to this matter must be given top priority because our students cannot afford further disruptions to the school year.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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