81.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 26, 2022


St. Croix residents were asked Tuesday to keep their trash at home until Saturday, when crews are expected to have stubborn methane gas fires at the Anguilla Landfill extinguished.
The latest blaze broke out on Friday and has caused an acrid pall of smoke to blanket St. Croix’s west end. Public Works Commissioner Harold Thompson Jr. said work crews who would normally pick up trash from the island’s various collection sites will instead be working at the landfill until Saturday, trying to smother small blazes with fill dirt and then to cover existing garbage.
"In order for Public Works to control the situation before it becomes a major crisis, the department will briefly remove all garbage bins from schools, government agencies and public housing communities," Thompson said.
Public bins at Lagoon Street, Carlton, Peter's Rest, Mon Bijou, Good Hope, Cotton Valley and LBJ will be also removed until trash collection resumes on Saturday.
While the St. Croix dump is the one currently experiencing problems, the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas is also plagued with methane buildups, which have ignited several times over the last decade.
The problems at the landfills started when garbage was dumped and then covered with layers of dirt. If the soil isn’t compacted properly, air pockets form, containing gas from decaying organic materials.
The gas – methane – is colorless and, as residents downwind of both landfills know, flammable.
At a meeting of the Senate Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection last Friday, just a few hours before the latest flareup at Anguilla, Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg said it could take more than $15 million to rid the Bovoni Landfill of its methane problem.
At that same meeting, Dean Plaskett, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, said the biggest contributing factor to the fires at the Anguilla Landfill is the lack of adequate fill dirt.
"The most blatant noncompliance is the failure to cover the landfill with six inches of dirt every day," said Plaskett, whose department has taken over the task of seeing that the fires are put out from Public Works.
"DPNR will pay the tab and seek reimbursement form Public Works as soon as it’s practicable," he said.
Roan Creque, special projects coordinator for Public Works, said a lack of proper equipment at the landfill was also contributing to the fires. "There is no compactor on the landfill and there hasn’t been one for a while," Creque said.
He noted that while the contractor at the site has two bulldozers moving garbage they are not designed to compact the trash.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.




Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
This message is only visible to admins.
Problem displaying Facebook posts.
Error: Server configuration issue