Residents Fear Rupture of Derelict Storage Tank on Cruz Bay Parking Garage Site

Some residents are concerned that a large storage tank, above center, near Our Market fruit stand in Cruz Bay, will rupture and spill its contents into the Creek.

While governnment officials continue to push plans for the development of a parking garage and vendors plaza at Cruz Bay creek, some residents want officials to remove a major environmental threat on one corner of the site immediately.

A large, rusted out storage tank near The Lumberyard in Cruz Bay is causing concern for some residents who worry the tank, which is V.I. government-owned, will rupture, spilling its toxic contents into the Creek.

However, the top St. John government official does not agree with one resident’s assertions the tank contains toxic materials.

“The tank used to have tar in it years and years ago,” said St. John Administrator Julien Harley. “In terms of the tar coming out, I don’t know anything about that.”

Michael Weinman, owner of the neighboring commercial center The Lumberyard, said he has spoken with the Department of Property and Procurement in an effort to get the tank removed.

Property and Procurement officials were not available for comment last week due to St. Thomas carnival, and a woman who answered the phone at the office referred questions to the St. John administrator.

Accident Waiting to Happen
Weinman has been trying to get the government to remove the tank for about four years, he said.

“I have been after the government for years to drain it and remove it,” said Weinman. “The tank is a hazard, and I made the government aware of it three or four years ago.”

A resident who raised concerns about the storage tank to St. John Tradewinds said it is an accident waiting to happen. “The tank is disintegrating, and the stuff inside is quite toxic,” the resident said. “If the tank leaks or falls apart, the harbor will be a real mess. Close examination of the tank to a novice shows that a disaster is in the making.”

The tank contains a petroleum product, said Weinman.

“There’s a petroleum product in there, and it’s rotted through and in very bad shape,” he said. “If you try to do anything with it, it’s going to fall apart. The tank is rotten, the plumbing is shot, and one morning we’ll wake up and find the harbor full of oil.”

Harley would not specify when the tank will be removed.

“The government’s going to remove it,” he said. “It’s going to happen sometime soon.”.”