Here are the latest risk levels on St.John beaches as of November 13th, provided by Love City Strong and the Surfrider Foundation. This post also contains the original press release with the October 31st water quality results. Please heed recommendations for safe swimming.
OCTOBER 31ST PRESS RELEASE FROM:
SURFRIDER FOUNDATION AND LOVE CITY STRONG TEST WATERS AT ST. JOHN BEACHES
The Surfrider Foundation and Love City Strong, after independently testing beach water quality at 14 beaches over a seven-day period, found unsafe levels of E. Coli at a number of St. John beaches.
Together, the non-profit organizations are working to assist in monitoring beach water quality. Native Virgin Islanders Katie Day, staff scientist at Surfrider Foundation, and Sarah Swan, dedicated Surfrider Foundation volunteer, tested beach water quality using EPA recreational water quality criteria.
The tests utilized water sampled at the shorelines. High risk and potentially dangerous levels of E. Coli were present at Maho Bay Beach (at the pavilion side), Cruz Bay and Great Cruz Bay. Jumbie Beach and Maho Bay Beach (at the parking lot side) presented a medium risk level. It’s important to note that although results at a certain date may be “low risk,” water quality is dynamic and can fluctuate, especially after rains. There are also other hazards at St. John beaches, including debris from boats, buildings and trees.
“We want to make sure the community is aware of the potential risk for fecal bacteria exposure, and what
beaches are safe for swimming,” says Day, who has a Masters of Environmental Science and
Management from UC Santa Barbara. “After these intense rains and recent damage to the island’s
infrastructure, the amount of runoff is extensive and the likelihood for high bacteria is increased. Much of
the vegetation has been uprooted, losing its ability to naturally filter runoff and rainwater.”
Love City Strong and The Surfrider Foundation are committed to ensuring safe recreational use of St. John’s beaches for locals and guests. As visitors look to return to island, they must be aware that the state of St. John beaches is still in flux. This is but one of the numerous challenges the island faces on the path to recovery following hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.
Using the sampling mechanism and design implemented by The Surfrider Foundation, Love City Strong will continue testing water and look to provide an additional resource for information on the safety of the water at St. John beaches. These are not official determinations on whether water is safe or if beaches are open. The National Park Service and DPNR will make official statements regarding water safety.
For more information, please contact Siobhan Mulvey of Love City Strong at firstname.lastname@example.org