The V.I. Waste Management Authority has been pumping sewage over Long Reef since 8 p.m. Thursday, and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources advises "caution" before swimming on Christiansted Harbor beaches this weekend.
The WMA shut down the LBJ pump station and commenced pumping over Long Reef on Thursday evening to reduce the heavy flow of waste going to the Fig Tree Pump Station. The waste water flow was diverted over the reef to reduce the impact to the adjacent neighborhood and prevent sewer overflows in Christiansted town and surrounding areas and to reduce the impact on the Fig Tree gut and beach area, according to a statement from WMA.
WMA officials say the Fig Tree pump station recently experienced electrical problems, causing the station to go offline at various times. Bypassing over Long Reef is expected to continue for the next 7 to 10 days.
According to their statement, signs will be posted on the beach saying to avoid the Long Reef and adjacent beach areas until the force main is back in service.
DPNR just released its latest beach water test results and all of St. Croix’s beaches tested safe. Tests notwithstanding, because of the sewage being pumped, DPNR is advising the public "to take caution when visiting beaches within the Christiansted Harbor until further notice."
That section of the St. Croix sewage system has been plagued with spill, breaches and pump station failures necessitating pumping over Long Reef for many years. Recent WMA efforts to replace long sections of old cast iron pipe with new PVC pipe with each break are intended to reduce and eventually eliminate the problem.
For additional information regarding water quality call the Division of Environmental Protection at 773-1082 in St. Croix. For information on the bypass contact WMA at 712-4962.