The V.I. Water and Power Authority worked throughout the weekend to mitigate the impacts an influx of sargassum seen last week on the northcentral shoreline of St. Croix has had on its potable water supply.
Though experts have predicted a reduction in seaweed for the season, several areas including areas in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South Florida continue to see moderate levels of sargassum, according to a WAPA news release. Sargassum is generally not a threat when floating out at sea, however, when it reaches land and begins to decay, it is a hindrance to water production.
Last summer, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. was forced to declare a state of emergency when a mass of sargassum threatened water and energy production on St. Croix.
Last Tuesday, more sargassum was seen on the northcentral shoreline where the Richmond Power Plant is located along with Seven Seas Water, which produces the authority’s potable water supply.
Over the weekend, steps taken to reduce the impact to water quality and production from the authority and Seven Seas include an increase in the frequency of filter change-outs, the scheduling of additional cleaning of membrane units; and an increase in chlorine injections to reduce microorganisms found in sargassum, the release said.
“Though these efforts will continue over the weekend to ensure the Authority meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for potable drinking water, customers may experience an unusual odor and discoloration,” according to WAPA.
“The authority reassures the community that all steps are being taken to provide the highest quality potable water despite the occurrence of sargassum. Should additional sargassum continue to impact the ability to capture and produce fresh potable water, potential water interruptions island-wide could occur, as the Authority works to effectively manage supply,” the release said.