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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesHelp Available to Remediate Hazardous Sites, DPNR Says

Help Available to Remediate Hazardous Sites, DPNR Says

Help is available for property owners who voluntarily remediate their sites that contain hazardous materials, a team from the Planning and Natural Resources Department said Wednesday at a meeting called to discuss proposed rules and regulations for the Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act.
“This is a tool of economic development, especially in towns where you don’t have to build roads and infrastructure,” said Clanicia Pelle, Planning’s engineer on the Brownfields program.
It didn’t appear to be a hot topic among residents. None showed up at the meeting held at the Legislature Building on St. John. Dawn Henry, who serves a chief legal counsel in Planning’s Environmental Protection Division, said no one attended the meeting Tuesday on St. Croix. A third meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at Planning’s offices at Cyril E. King Airport.
According to Henry, the department likes to hear what the community has to say on its matters because residents often have expertise on the issues.
In addition to financial help and incentives available to property owners who agree to remove hazardous material from their properties, Henry said that once they make an agreement with Planning, they’re exempt from Planning’s enforcement actions.
“And jobs can be created,” Henry said.
The assistance includes eligibility for bank loans to pay for the remedial work, tax relief packages and grants from federal agencies, Henry said.
“They can tap into other programs,” Pelle said.
Planning has investigated 10 sites thought to contain hazardous waste and hired a contractor to investigate 10 more. The 20 are on both St. Thomas and St. Croix. Pelle said one area at Bassin Triangle in Christiansted was home to three long-closed gas stations.
“We found the likelihood that they contain contaminants, so we should do testing,” Pelle said.
Other sites on St. Croix include the former Devcon site near the V.I. Water and Power Authority plant on the outskirts of Christiansted and the former Customs House in Frederiksted.
“It’s mostly mold at the Customs House,” Pelle said of the local government-owned building.
Problem areas on St. Thomas include places in Sub Base, the old Merchant’s Market Building and a building on Back Street in downtown Charlotte Amalie. Pelle said that problems in old buildings often include asbestos and lead.
It costs 1 percent of the cost of remediation up to $5,000 to apply to participate in the program.
The draft rules and regulations are available at Planning Offices.
Anyone with comments to make on the program must do so in writing by Aug. 19. Send email comments to clinicia.pelle@dpnr.gov.vi or via regular mail to Pelle at DPNR-DEP, 45 Mars Hill, Frederiksted, VI 00841.

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