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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, February 6, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesHeavy Rains Make Magens Bay a No-Swim Zone

Heavy Rains Make Magens Bay a No-Swim Zone

Yellow tape marks the area where brackish water meets Magens Bay.Magens Bay beach was almost deserted Sunday morning, save for a few isolated runners and one couple at a picnic table, while deep brown, brackish water poured into the beach’s brilliant blue sea.
The famous beach was closed Friday after the recent heavy rains caused the mangrove swamp behind the beach to overflow, sending a stream of brackish water into the bay.
Magens Bay Authority staff and board say this is a natural occurrence, which happens a few times a year.
Magens office manager Pamela Jurgen said Monday morning, "It happens all the time when we have rains over 12 inches. It’s a natural thing. Nature has to take its course."
A sign on yellow tape at the beach’s entrance announces "no swimming." Jurgen said there is no admittance charge while the beach is closed for swimming.
The water was tested by the authority Monday, part of a twice-monthly procedure, said board member Robert Moron on Monday.
He said a staff meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning to discuss the results of the test and determine when the beach will reopen. Hubert Brumant, Magens Bay general manger, will return from vacation Tuesday. A reopening date for swimming should be announced at that time, Moron said.
Referring to the breach, Moron echoed Jurgen. "It’s been happening for hundreds of years. Ever since I was a little boy coming to the beach, this would happen," Moron said. "It’s nature’s way of purging. With the turbidity, the water gets murky and brown. Within a week’s time, it pretty much clears up replaced by tides."
Jurgen said all the major hotels had called Monday morning, and were advised that swimming at that time wasn’t permitted.
In a Friday news release, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources advised the public against swimming in the territory’s beaches due to the recent heavy rains. The release said, "There may be an elevated health risk to anyone swimming in storm-water-impacted areas as a result of increased concentrations of bacteria."
The department issues weekly beach advisories throughout the territory. DPNR spokesman Jamal Nielsen stressed that the department has no authority to close beaches – it serves in an advisory capacity only. "Magens was closed by the authority," he said Monday.
Meanwhile, Sunday was a peaceful time for the few folks enjoying the beach, gazing at the crystal blue water, as they ran or strolled along. A member of a yoga class at the far left end of the beach spoke of the silence, "just listening to the waves, so lovely."

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