Oct. 29, 2002 – The St. Croix Environmental Association is embarking on a month-long project to keep track of where and when raw sewage is flowing outside of sewer lines on the island. Its success, an SEA official says, will depend on the cooperation of community members.
During the month of November, the association will be monitoring what are technically called "wastewater bypasses." SEA is taking on the task of recording and reporting as many such instances of flowing sewage as possible to assist the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
"We are asking the public to assist us in our monitoring efforts. We need help with three specific tasks," SEA executive director Bill Turner said Monday in a release.
First, he said, "We are requesting that any citizen who sees raw sewage flowing in any open area immediately call us to report it at 773-1989." He said callers need not identify themselves and that what SEA needs is simply the location of the flowing sewage and the time that the caller first noticed it.
Second, SEA would like to hear from anyone "noticing a foul smell" indicative of sewage in an area. This is because "frequently the bypass is in an area that is not directly visible" to residents or passersby, Turner said. Again, callers are asked to let the association know where and when the smell became noticeable.
Third, Turner said, SEA would like people with cameras to photograph any bypass areas that they can and make the images available to the association. Anyone doing so "will be entitled to the same confidentiality that callers receive," he said. Those taking pictures are asked to note the location and time that each photograph was taken, along with when the situation pictured first became apparent.
The objective of the monitoring program is to provide data to the EPA "that will document the most serious bypass problem areas on St. Croix," Turner said. "We hope that this information will lead to action to alleviate the burden on residents in these areas."
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