CHRISTIANSTED — The Virgin Islands National Guard’s Civil Support Team (CST), in conjunction with the Virgin Island Fire Department’s HAZMAT unit, took its air quality monitoring and testing inside the Limetree Bay refinery Sunday after finding elevated levels of sulfur dioxide near the refinery on Saturday.
The team spent more than four and a half hours on Sunday conducting an extensive investigation within the refinery, including air quality readings and chemical tests. Sunday’s investigations, however, did not find any elevated levels of sulfur dioxide within the refinery.
While the investigation Sunday did not indicate elevated levels of sulfur dioxide within the refinery, the team continues to investigate the possibility of sporadic releases within the refinery.
The team is also investigating to determine whether the refinery’s operation may have contributed to the environmental noxious odors that the communities across St. Croix experienced over the past week, which have contributed to some health concerns.
The CST and Fire Department’s HAZMAT team will each continue monitoring Sunday evening and this morning and will mobilize to conduct spot checks in affected residential areas.
The Department of Planning and Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency continues to conduct active monitoring and have mobilized the newly acquired monitoring instrumentation to identify elevated chemical constituents in the atmosphere.
Residents with respiratory ailments such as allergies, lung disease, or asthma are strongly encouraged to consider staying indoors or taking other protective actions.
If you have questions or need to report the smell of a noxious or gaseous odor, please call DPNR at (340) 773-1082 ext. 2221 or the Environmental Health Division at (340) 718-1311 ext. 3709.