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Enighed Dredge Material May Be Killing Stream Life

Oct. 22, 2004 – The Department of Planning and Natural Resources Friday ordered the V.I. Port Authority to stop trucking dredged material from Enighed Pond to the Susannaberg Landfill.
The Public Works Department is using the dredged material for cover at the landfill. The unused dump now has a transfer station, and St. John's garbage is trucked to the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas.
Julien Harley, St. John administrator, confirmed that Planning had issued a Cease and Desist order.
"They're trying to do something so the runoff doesn't go into the gut," he said.
Coastal Zone Management director Victor Somme was out of his office and could not be reached for comment. Planning spokesman Jamal Nielsen did not return a phone call requesting more information.
Ira Wade, Deputy Public Works director, could not be reached for comment.
Harley and Wade had said Thursday that the dredged material had been tested for hazardous materials and showed no problems.
Water from the Susannaberg area flows downhill via Guinea Gut.
"Trinidad" Charlie Deyalsingh lives near Guinea Gut. He said Friday that during Thursday's heavy rains, the water flowing down the gut was gray rather than its usual clear color.
He said the water left behind a gray sludge. He attributed this to the dredge material being deposited at the Susannaberg Landfill since it was the same color as the dredged material piled up around Enighed Pond.
"It's starting to cake and crack up now," he said.
Deyalsingh said he fears for the lives of the guppies, crabs and native plants that live in the gut. He said he doesn't think anything is left alive.
"I've never seen anything like this. It's like an oil spill," he said.
The Port Authority on Tuesday began trucking the dredged material to the landfill because it had run out of room to store it adjacent to the pond. It had originally planned to leave it at the site to dry out.
Darlan Brin, Port Authority director, did not return a call requesting comment. Robert O'Connor Jr., Board president, was out of his office and could not be reached for comment.
This is the latest in a series of delays that has recently pushed the completion date up to March. At the June 13, 2003, groundbreaking ceremony, the Port Authority announced the project would be done by July 2004. The project has been on the books since 1971.
In the spring, the dredged material developed a foul odor, which forced the contractor, American Bridge Co., to stop dredging while a deodorizing system was worked out.
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