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Half Of The Beaches Surveyed By DPNR Are Unfit For Swimming Or Fishing

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CHRISTIANSTED – Sixteen beaches on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John are not safe for swimming or fishing, according to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

DPNR said that eight beaches should be avoided on St. Thomas: Water Bay, Sapphire, Vessup Bay, Bluebeards, Secret Harbor, Bolongo Bay, Frenchman’s Bay and Hull Bay.

Four beaches on St. Croix are unfit for swimming or fishing: Princess (Condo Row), Chenay Bay, Rainbow and Cane Bay. Four beaches were also deemed not to be used: Oppenhiemer, Johnson Bay, Great Cruz Bay and Frank Bay.

DPNR’s Beach Water Quality Monitoring Program evaluates weekly water quality at popular swimming beaches throughout the territory by sampling for enterococci bacteria and turbidity in the waters off of the territory.

It performed water quality analysis at the 33 designated beaches throughout the territory during the week of October 26-30, 2015.

The following beaches meet water quality standards and are safe for swimming or fishing:

St. Croix

Stoney Ground, Protestant Cay, Buccaneer, Cramer Park, New Fort (Ft. Louise Augusta), Dorsch, Frederiksted public beach, Pelican Cove (Comorant), Gentle Winds and Grapetree Bay.

St. Thomas

Magen’s Bay, John Brewer Bay, Lindbergh Bay, Lindquist and Coki Point.

St. John

Cruz Bay

Halfpenny Bay on St. Croix could not be sampled this week due to the heavy presence of seaweed along the shoreline, DPNR said.

“Shoys could not be accessed for sampling,” the department said.

High levels of enterococci bacteria and turbidity may be caused by runoff due to heavy rains, heavy marine vessel traffic, high wave activity near the shoreline, irresponsible recreational use, the department said. Runoff can consist of sediment, pesticides, animal feces and oil & grease, all of which are harmful to the waters of the territory.

DPNR will continue to monitor these popular swimming areas. It also recommends that you use your own discretion when swimming or fishing at the designated beaches.

If the waters appear muddy or murky or have foul odors, do not swim or fish there.

For additional information regarding water quality call the Division of Environmental Protection at (340) 773-1082 in St. Croix.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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