CZM Green Lights Diageo Proposal for Lined Evaporation Pond

2010 aerial view of the Diageo USVI's Captain Morgan Rum distillery. (File photo, © Eric Crossan)
2010 aerial view of the Diageo USVI’s Captain Morgan Rum distillery. (File photo © Eric Crossan)

In a unanimous vote, the St. Croix Coastal Zone Management Committee gave the green light to Diageo USVI on Thursday for modification of a major CZM permit, CZM-10-09L, to allow the company to construct a “lined evaporation pond.”

At the CZM committee’s meeting on Aug. 31, attorney Kevin Rames, representing Lockheed Martin, expressed concerns about the modifications.

Trinity Austrie and Benjamin Keularts from Tysam Tech, an environmental firm representing Diageo, said the 10-acre lined evaporation pond will be a key component of the existing wash water treatment system. The pond will be used to responsibly manage any treated bio-condensate that is not re-used at the facility and a continuous small stream of wastewater resulting from the site’s reverse osmosis systems and unit blowdowns, they said.

“Last time we left with CZM giving Diageo USVI some time in order to gather their corporate documents, and since then they were able to incorporate some feedback received from CZM and Lockheed Martin,” Austrie said.

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Lockheed Martin has been remediating the St. Croix Renaissance Group LLC property under the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the district of St. Croix. The remediation was ordered as part of a lawsuit filed by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources against Lockheed Martin and others, who Rames has defended.

One of the concerns was a six-foot separation between the berm in what is referenced as “Area B” and the berm to be constructed by Diageo. Lockheed Martin requested a 10-foot separation between Lockheed Martin’s berm and the evaporation pond. Austrie said that Diageo USVI has looked at the redesign and has considered the 10-foot spacing as Lockheed Martin requested.

“Consideration came with the redesign to make sure that we can still capture the 400 feet required for capturing the aeration from the sprayers,” Austrie said.

Diageo USVI did decrease the size of the pond, but said it was still able to maintain 400 feet.

To minimize the hydraulic retention time that would be required for evaporation, 18 mechanical sprayers will be installed to enhance the evaporative process. The sprayer design chosen is the SMI Model 420F sprayer that disperses the aerated liquid up to 25 feet in the air, and drift in worst-case conditions would be approximately 400 feet, according to Tysam Tech.

The sprayer layout, positioning and volume will allow drift control even during heavy winds. The pond design allows for the containment of a 1,000-year storm as well as an additional freeboard of three feet. The liquid depth of Diageo’s process water is limited to no more than 4.6 feet. The system does not require water and can operate on a continuous basis to control odors from the pond, according to Tysam Tech.

“The maximum flow rate to be discharged to the pond will be 210 gallons per minute,” Austrie said.

The total evaporation system manages as much as 230 gallons per minute without increasing the depth of the liquid level in the pond, Austrie said.

The CZM committee also requested the installation of infrastructure in the pipeline to have community access for material going off the pond for potential reuse and agriculture.

“Diageo is committed to installing an infrastructure along the pipeline leading to the pond so that farmers and others can have access to the non-hazardous material,” Austrie said.

During the questions portion of Thursday’s meeting, Kai Nielsen asked if anything would affect the slight decrease in the size to the pond. Austrie replied, “No.”

A representative from Lockheed Martin was present but said that they were only there to observe.

Committee members present were Chairwoman Masserae Sprauve-Webster, Kai Nielsen, and Carl Simmonds, Charles Peters was absent and excused.