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DPNR Water Expert Explains Why St. Croix’s Beaches Haven’t Been Sampled in Eight Weeks

QUALITY UNKNOWN: An area of beachfront St. Croix that used to be sampled, Princess Condo Row in Golden Rock. (PHOTO COURTESY: DPNR)

CHRISTIANSTED — The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) has been testing the water at “designated beaches” weekly on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix since 2004.

But eight weeks ago, their contract with Ocean Systems Laboratory (OSL) lapsed, so DPNR has been using the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) near Charlotte Amalie West to test the water for St. Thomas and St. John, said DPNR Environmental Engineer Benjamin Keularts.

“Unfortunately without our contract in place, we are using the University of the Virgin Islands as a Testing Lab, and they do not have a Testing Lab in St. Croix, so we can’t sample here,” Keularts said. “St. John was not sampled this week because the lab in St. Thomas was closed until Thursday, and there was only enough time in the week to analyze samples from St. Thomas. However next week we will sample both St. Thomas and St. John and possibly attempt to sample St. Croix and ship the samples over to the St. Thomas lab. Nonetheless our contract should be in place shortly though, and sampling will go back to normal.”

In fact, DPNR has not sample St. Croix’s water for about eight weeks now.

“We normally contract with the Ocean Systems Laboratory (OSL) to do our testing, which is the only other commercial lab that can service our needs in St. Thomas and St. John and they are the only lab in St. Croix that can provide proper service,” Keularts said. “UVI doesn’t have such a lab equipped in St. Croix, hence the reason we cannot currently analyze St. Croix samples. Though, as mentioned, we are exploring if samples can be sent over to St. Thomas for processing, but timing is tricky.”
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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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