From: Associated Press
Published November 29, 2005 12:00 AM

U.S. Virgin Islands Takes Steps To Prevent Seaside Pollution

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands — The U.S. Virgin Islands has taken steps to prevent further pollution of its bays and beaches, reportedly contaminated by fecal bacteria, officials said Monday.


The Department of Planning and Natural Resources has begun tightening regulations on home and business septic tanks after researchers in September found high levels of fecal bacteria in six St. Thomas bays, said department spokeswoman Amanda Sackey.


As of this week, regulations will be enforced more rigorously.


"Instead of the cheap system," people are going to have to "buy the US$10,000 (euro8,5000) one," she said.


Another problem might come from lawn fertilizers, which are carried by rainwater runoff into the sea, she said.


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Two other St. Thomas bays and one in the island of St. John were found to have unusually high levels of oil and grease.


The oil and grease, which comes from roads and construction projects, drains into the bays and threatens marine life, Sackey said.


The government is installing monitoring systems to gauge ocean pollutants. They include screens to measure silt and oil in spillways. When they studies are completed, new regulations will be drafted, she said.


Source: Associated Press


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