DPNR: Five Beaches on St. Thomas, Three on St. John, One on St. Croix Are Not Safe For Swimming Or Fishing
CHARLOTTE AMALIE – The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) said today that five beaches on St. Thomas, three beaches on St. John and one beach on St. Croix are not safe to swim or fish in.
Lindbergh Bay, Brewer’s Bay, Water Bay, Vessup Bay and Frenchman’s Bay are the beaches to avoid on St. Thomas while Oppenheimer, Johnson Bay and Cruz Bay are not suitable for swimming or fishing, DPNR said. On St. Croix, Halfpenny Beach on the South Shore has been deemed not safe for swimming or fishing.
DPNR said the nine beaches affected are unfit for swimming or fishing after testing at 33 beaches from Feb. 8 to 12 revealed that they do not meet established water quality standards.
The agency said the “beaches do not meet water quality standards because they exceed the established Enterococci Bacteria threshold and therefore are not considered to be safe for swimming or fishing.”
Enterococci are potentially-infectious bacteria common in the feces of warm-blooded animals, including humans. In 1986, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended using enterococci in place of fecal coliform bacteria as the preferred indicator of fecal pollution and health risk in marine water.
“DPNR is also advising parents to instruct their children to keep away from storm water-impacted beaches as well as areas with manholes and storm water flooding,” the agency said. “There may be an elevated health risk to anyone swimming in storm water-impacted areas as a result of increased concentrations of bacteria.”
If the waters appear muddy or murky or have foul odors, do not swim or fish. For additional information regarding water quality call the Division of Environmental Protection at (340) 773-1082 in St. Croix.
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