As part of its continuing efforts to help the Caribbean recover from the long-term impacts from hurricanes Irma and Maria, this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to tentatively approve the U.S. Virgin Islands municipal solid waste landfill permit program. This proposed approval is a key step for the territory to, among other things, be able to expand existing landfills, construct new landfills, and allow the use of alternative daily cover and other operational flexibilities at the landfills.
“EPA is inviting the public and interested stakeholders to comment on our proposed approval of the U.S. Virgin Islands government solid waste landfill permit program,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “This approval would be a critical element in a comprehensive and robust solid waste management program, which is an EPA priority. We are engaged in a broad effort of capacity building, equipping our partners, reducing waste, increasing recycling, and promoting a comprehensive solid waste management program.”
The EPA is continuing to assess landfills throughout the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Working with federal, territorial, community and education partners, EPA has convened stakeholders, facilitated dialogue, provided technical resources and supplied key information to empower local decision-makers to move ahead with a solid waste management program for the Caribbean. To support these efforts as part of USVI recovery, $10 million in supplemental funds have been allocated to the territory.
A municipal solid waste characterization field study, funded by EPA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was recently completed, and the University of the Virgin Islands is preparing the results. This study is the first step in developing and updating waste management programs and evaluating ways to reduce and manage waste and cut disposal costs. In addition to helping create an integrated waste management program, the data collected will inform the government of the USVI in its efforts to craft recycling policies.
EPA will hold three public hearings to explain the proposed approval and to take written comments through Aug. 2. The meetings will be held on St. Croix on July 23, St. Thomas on July 24 and St. John on July 25. All public comments must be received no later than Aug. 2.
Tentative approval of the U.S. Virgin Islands municipal solid waste landfill permit program.
St. Croix at 6 p.m., July 23, at Florence A. Williams Public Library, 1122 King Street, Christiansted, St. Croix 00823
St. Thomas at 6 p.m., July 24, at Charles W. Turnbull Regional Public Library Auditorium, 2607 Tutu Park Mall, St. Thomas, USVI 00802
St. John at 6 p.m., July 25, at Cleone H. Creque Legislative Conference Room, St. John Legislative Annex, Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI 00830.
Written comments may be mailed or emailed to: Judy-Ann Mitchell, Acting deputy Division Director, Land, Chemicals and Redevelopment Division, USEPA Region 2, 290 Broadway, New York, NY 10007 or via email at [email protected]
All comments on EPA’s approval must be received by the close of business on Friday, Aug. 2.
EPA will consider all public comments received during the public comment period and public hearings, including any comments offered by the V.I. government, and make a final determination.
EPA will give notice of its final determination in the Federal Register. The document will include a summary of the reasons for the final determination and a summary of responses to all major comments received at the public hearings and during the public comment period.
Solid waste that is not deemed hazardous is regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In the USVI, solid waste is currently subject to local regulation by the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources and managed by the V.I. Waste Management Authority.
A Federal Register notice for this proposed approval was published on June 7, 2019, and can be viewed at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/06/07/2019-12044/the-territory-of-the-united-states-virgin-islands-notification-of-tentative-determination-of
EPA’s solid waste information gateway can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/solidwaste.
En español: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/la-epa-propone-aprobar-el-programa-de-residuos-solidos-de-las-islas-virgenes
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