Bad Odor on St. John Caused by Grease Removal From Sewer System

Map shows lift station outlined in orange and wastewater treatment plant marked with red location symbol (

The Cruz Bay area on St. John is experiencing a bad odor due to a large amount of grease and debris recently extracted from the Pond Mouth Pump Station.  The Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) apologizes to the residents who are enduring this odor and assures the public that it is taking all necessary steps to mitigate this situation.

On Wednesday, April 22, VIWMA staff were notified of a manhole overflow. Upon inspection, a large amount of grease and debris caused the pump station to malfunction and the manhole to overflow. The following day, Thursday, April 23, VIWMA staff and contractors pumped/removed more than 9,000 gallons of wastewater containing both grease and debris from the wet well and transferred the material to the Cruz Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant drying beds for disposal.

The grease emits a very strong odor and VIWMA staff continues to use odor suppressant to reduce the odor.

The Authority reminds the public, especially restaurants and other cooking establishments, that fats, cooking oil or grease (FOGs), should not be disposed down any business/ household drains or thrown into guts/gutters, down manholes or down storm drains.  Illegal or improper disposal of FOGs negatively impacts the wastewater system and groundwater.

Although most restaurants have closed or scaled back business operations during COVID-19, grease dumped down drains can stay in public sewer lines, travel through the sewer network and accumulate in the pump station wet well where it ultimately affects the operation of  pumps, causing overflows at the nearest downstream manhole.

Virgin Islands law states all businesses producing waste oil must employ an authorized permitted hauler to dispose of the used product. Violators are subject to a fine of not less than $1,000 and/or 180 days imprisonment.

For more information, call the Office of Communications Management at 643-0410 or email [email protected].  Also, follow VIWMA on Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Twitter.