BVI News

Concern over water quality, sewage overflow

While urging residents to purify contaminated water in cisterns and other storage facilities before use, the Environmental Health Division said it is concerned that flooded septic tanks may have resulted in effluent entering some homes along with flood waters.

The department raised concern following heavy rainfall and flooding especially on Tortola last week Monday, resulting from a tropical wave.

“Bearing this [possible overflow of septic tanks] in mind, persons should flush and disinfect their yards, wear shoes when outdoors, and when returning inside the house shoes should be left outside and disinfected where possible. If you suspect that your septic tank may have been flooded, contact the Environmental Health Division at 468-5110,” said Acting Chief Environmental Health Officer Yolanda Penn.

She, in the meantime, urged residents to apply safety measures to ensure good water quality especially for consumption.

“If you are unsure that the water supply is safe for use or [you] suspect contamination, you should boil water for at least five minutes,” Penn explained.

“If boiling is not an option, use household bleach by adding six drops to one gallon of water. After mixing, allow to stand for 30 minutes. At this point, there should be a slight smell of chlorine coming from the water. If not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for a further 15 minutes.”

The other option, Penn said, is to treat clear water with iodine, using the formula – two to three drops per quart of water, which is equivalent to one litre.

“Highly coloured water will need eight to 10 drops of iodine, which should be mixed and allowed to stand for 30 minutes,” added the Environmental Health Division.

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