US Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan has formally asked President Joe Biden to issue an emergency declaration on the territory as it battles a water contamination crisis on St Croix.
In a statement this afternoon, Government House said the declaration, once approved by Biden, will cover a 90-day period from November 15, 2023.
It will also clear an additional US$5 million in resources for the territory.
“Governor Bryan‘s request to President Biden for an emergency declaration is crucial to garner federal support to effectively manage this unprecedented situation. This support is vital for implementing long-term solutions to ensure clean and safe water for all St Croix residents and restore normalcy in the wake of this environmental challenge,” Government House stated.
The Governor has already issued a State of Emergency (SoE) on St Croix.
During the SoE, there is a cap on bottled water and water truck haulers to prevent price gouging during this crisis. The Virgin Islands National Guard has also been activated to assist local agencies with their operations.
Hazardous levels of lead and copper in the water supply of St Croix was reported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on October 14, 2023 from samples collected on September 28 and 29, 2023.
The VI Department of Health is currently testing children on St Croix to determine levels of lead exposure.
One suspected case was detected among a sample of Pre-K, First and Second Grade children tested at the Lew Muckle Elementary School.
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