The V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) announces that due to the impact and continuing effects of Hurricane Maria, the Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) anticipates that negative environmental impacts will be caused by storm-water runoff, high surf zones and anticipated sewer system overflows.
DPNR advises the public to use caution when using the coastal waters throughout the territory until further notification. It is also advising parents to instruct their children to keep away from storm water-impacted beaches as well as areas with manholes and storm water flooding. There may be an elevated health risk to anyone swimming in storm water-impacted areas as a result of increased concentrations of bacteria.
Also, all persons should be aware that storm water runoff due to hurricanes and tropical storms may also contain contaminants or pollutants harmful to human health due to storm debris; therefore, all persons should avoid areas of storm water runoff (i.e. guts, puddles and drainage basins).
DPNR will continue to monitor the impacted areas and waters.
For additional information regarding water quality, call the Division of Environmental Protection at 773-1082 on St. Croix or 774-3320 on St. Thomas.