Solid wastes in the USVI are regulated under authorities provided by Title 19 V.I.C., Chapter 56 Virgin Islands Rules and Regulations, pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). A federal law applying to all states and territories in the nation, RCRA was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1976, as an amendment to the 1965 Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA).
The mission of the DPNR/DEP Solid Waste Management Program is to protect the health, safety and well being of the public, and to preserve and improve the quality of the environment for all living things.
The DPNR/DEP Solid Waste Management Program and assigned personnel are responsible for regulating storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste in the USVI. Major accountabilities include but are not limited to:
DPNR/DEP Solid Waste personnel also conduct public awareness campaigns and outreach activities for the USVI community, provide technical assistance to regulated businesses, and educational programs covering various waste management related topics. Many of these activities are developed and presented in coordination and/or collaboration with the USVI Department of Public Works, USVI Department of Health, US EPA and other local and national organizations.
Under USVI laws and regulations, solid waste is defined as any trash, rubbish (combustible or noncombustible, garbage, refuse, offal, filth, bottles, glass, crockery, cans, cartons, scrap metal, junked vehicles, appliances or hardware, brush, waste soil, rock, construction materials, animal carcasses, sludge from a waste treatment plant or air pollution control facility, or any unsanitary or offensive material or discarded matter, or parts or portions thereof, or any industrial, commercial, mining, agricultural or other waste which is not subject to point source discharge permits.
In addition to regulatory responsibility for solid waste, the DPNR/DEP’s Solid Waste Program responsibilities extend to management of special wastes, wastes defined as “hazardous waste” under local and/or federal laws and regulations, including human and animal medical waste.
Special wastes refers to items that require special or separate handling, such as household hazardous wastes, bulky wastes, tires and used oil.
Solid waste is a hazardous waste if it is not excluded by regulation (40 CFR 261.4) and if it is listed (261.30) as a hazardous waste, is a waste mixture containing one or more listed hazardous wastes, or exhibits one or more characteristics of hazardous waste (i.e., ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity) (40 CFR 261.21 to 261.24). Medical wastes in the USVI are classified as hazardous wastes.
The DPNR/DEP’s regulatory authorities apply to waste management and waste disposal operators, generators and transporters of hazardous waste, used oil, medical and other wastes.