At VIFreepBreaking NewsEnvironmental NewsHealth NewsSt. Croix NewsSt. John NewsSt. Thomas News

DPNR Says It Is Enforcing More Stringent Water Quality Standards This Week … Expect More Beach Failures

CHRISTIANSTED — The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) advises all USVI public beach users of the policy adoption by DPNR of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established Beach Action Value (BAV) in future weekly Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) advisories.

The new BAV threshold value for Enterococci Bacteria is set at 70 cfu/100mL, which is more stringent than the previous threshold value of 104 cfu/100mL, DPNR Commissioner Dawn Henry said.

The BEACH Act of 2000, which established the BEACH program in the USVI, directed EPA to conduct studies associated with pathogens and human health, and to publish new or revised criteria recommendations for pathogens and pathogen indicators based on those studies.

New 2012 Recommended Water Quality Criteria (RWQC) meet those requirements and replace the outdated 1986 RWQC. As part of this update, DPNR has adopted these criteria into the 2015 WQS regulations (12 VIRR §186) for Enterococci Bacteria as well as the use of the BAV.

Enterococci Bacteria, like various other bacteria strains, can cause illnesses in persons who come into direct contact with contaminated water. The 2012 RWQC rely on the latest research and science, including studies that show a link between illness and fecal contamination in recreational waters. When analyzing water for Enterococci bacteria, its concentration is measured in number of bacteria colonies per 100mL of water (cfu/100mL). The BAV threshold is set at 70 cfu/100mL, which is more stringent than the previous threshold value of 104 cfu/100mL, derived from the 1986 RWQC. While the old threshold is still considered to be protective of human health, the new BAV value has been determined by EPA to be a better precautionary tool to provide an early alert to beachgoers, including families with children or elderly.

Please be aware that while an increase in beaches listed as unsafe for swimming or fishing in DPNR’s weekly Beach Advisories is expected, the quality of the Waters of the USVI is not affected. This policy change only serves to improve DPNR’s notification process to the public of the potential risk to human heath due to designated beach use.

You may contact DPNR’s BEACH Program Staff at (340) 774-3320 in St. Thomas or at (340) 643-6013 in St. Croix should you have any questions or concerns.

Previous post

Sen. Rivera-O'Reilly: V.I. Medical Examiners Board Is Abusing Its Power and AG Claude Walker Should Investigate It

Next post

Barbados' Rihanna Turns 30 With Elegant Birthday Bash at Seagram Building in NYC

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.

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *