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DPNR: Halfpenny Beach In St. Croix Is The Only Beach Considered Not Safe

Halfpenny beach in STX

Garbage piled up near a tree at Halfpenny Beach in St. Croix

CHRISTIANSTED – Only one beach in St. Croix – Halfpenny Beach – has been deemed unfit for swimming or fishing by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) in its weekly beach advisory.

But DPNR admits that beaches in St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island were not tested at all due to heavy rainfall amounts there.

“Beaches on St. Thomas and St. John were not sampled this week due to heavy rains this week, and DPNR anticipates that negative environmental impacts will be caused by storm-water runoff,” the agency said in a statement. “DPNR advises the public to use caution when using the coastal waters on St. Thomas until further notification.”

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, which is a measure of water clarity.

DPNR performed water quality analysis at 17 designated beaches throughout the territory during the week of December 7-11, 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); Frederiksted Public Beach; Pelican Cove (Cormorant); Shoys; Rainbow; Cane Bay; Chenay Bay; Gentle Winds; Princess (Condo Row) B – Breezez; Grapetree Bay;
and Princess (Condo Row) A – Mill Harbour.

“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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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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