Lower Lead and Copper Levels Revealed in EPA Report

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – During the weekly briefing at Government House on Monday, Communications Director Richard Motta confirmed that sequential water testing conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in November failed to replicate the extremely high levels of lead and copper that were initially identified during EPA testing conducted in September.   

The reason for this stark difference is directly related to “flaws in the way the samples were collected in September,” Motta said. In fact, none of the positive results were attributed directly to the V.I. Water and Power Authority (WAPA) water distribution system. 

In the interest of the public’s health and safety, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. issued a “No Drink Advisory” to all customers of the water distribution system and subsequently declared a State of Emergency. 

Motta said that of the 119 samples taken as part of the EPA’s follow-up sequential testing, only 3 exceeded the threshold of 15 parts per billion required for EPA compliance.  Of those three samples, two were identified as being caused by the internal plumbing of the home. The other sample was taken from a location where the water had sat stagnant for a period of time.

As a result of this information, the EPA has acknowledged that the potential danger related to the presence of lead and copper in the water system is not as significant as originally thought. 

The Government of the Virgin Islands will implement a comprehensive plan to educate the public about steps that can be taken to reduce lead exposure in homes and drinking water. The implementation of that plan has begun, and public education is ongoing.  

Retroactive Wages

Additionally, Motta announced that by the end of the year, the Division of Personnel will have distributed a fourteen percent (14%) application towards the remaining retroactive wage compensation balances owed, less taxes and social security. Payments are being distributed to all eligible active, separated, and retired GVI employees in the classified service from 1990 through 2001.  The Division of Personnel is also accepting retroactive wage compensation claims from survivors of eligible active, separated, or retired employees.

To submit a survivor claim, visit the Division of Personnel’s website at www.dopusvi.org/retrodashboard, select the applicable year, and then click on special instructions.

Tax Amnesty

The Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue has announced a tax amnesty program, effective immediately and lasting through the end of December. This amnesty offers a unique opportunity for those in arrears to catch up on their payments. The amnesty will waive penalties but not interest on the overdue amounts. To be eligible for this amnesty, individuals must be current with their tax obligations, which includes having filed their 2022 income tax return with the bureau.  

Governor’s Children’s Holiday Parties  

The Office of the Governor invites the public to celebrate the spirit of the season at the Governor’s Children’s Christmas Parties on all three islands starting with: 

  • St. John, Friday, December 15th at Franklin A. Powell Sr. Park; 4pm-6pm 
  • St. Croix, Saturday, December 16th, at Government House; 2pm-5pm 
  • St. Thomas, Monday, December 18th, Havensight Mall; 6pm-9pm 

Office of Gun Violence Prevention

The Office of Gun Violence Prevention will host a 3-On-3 basketball tournament this Saturday, December 16th at the St. Croix Educational Complex, from 12 pm –Until.  It is called “Rep your Hood with Basketball Not Violence.” There is a cash prize of $2,000, winner takes all, with 14 neighborhood teams from around St. Croix signed up as well as a team from VIPD and one from the Fire Department. The Entry Fee is $5. Contact Damian Lang 340-244-6930 for more information. 

The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit transparency.vi.gov

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