The Department of Planning and Natural Resources announced on Friday that three beaches in St. Thomas — Coki Point, Vessup Bay and Bluebeards — are not safe for swimming and fishing this weekend. Separately, D.P.N.R. said Pelican Cove, Princess Condo Row and Grapetree on St. Croix, while Bolongo Bay and Frenchman’s Bay in St. Thomas were not tested (D.P.N.R. did not say why), and therefore their water quality is unknown.
The three St. Thomas beaches were deemed unsafe because they exceeded the level of enterococci bacteria established as safe for swimming and fishing, D.P.N.R. said.
Most of the territory’s waters passed the safety level, however, including the following per island.
St. Croix: Cramer Park, Shoy’s, New Fort (Ft. Louise Augusta), Buccaneer, Chenay Bay, Halfpenny, Stoney Ground, Dorsch, Frederiksted Public Beach, Cane Bay, Rainbow and Protestant Cay.
St. Thomas: Lindquist, Magen’s Bay, Secret Harbor, Lindbergh Bay, Brewer’s Bay, Hull Bay, Water Bay and Sapphire.
St. John: Great Cruz Bay, Frank Bay, Cruz Bay, Oppenheimer and Johnson Bay.
D.P.N.R. 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, etc. Runoff can consist of sediment, pesticides, animal feces and oil & grease, all of which are harmful to the waters of the territory.
The agency says it will continue to monitor these popular swimming areas. D.P.N.R. also recommends that beachgoers use their 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.
For additional information regarding water quality call the Division of Environmental Protection at 773-1082 on St. Croix.