The V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources announces that in anticipation of the approaching tropical storm the Division of Environmental Protection anticipates negative environmental impacts caused by stormwater runoff.
DPNR advises the public to refrain from using coastal waters throughout the territory until further notification. It also advises parents to instruct their children to keep away from stormwater-impacted beaches, as well as areas with manholes and stormwater flooding. There may be an elevated health risk to anyone swimming in stormwater-impacted areas as a result of increased concentrations of bacteria, oils and chemicals.
Also, all persons should be aware that stormwater runoff may also contain contaminants or pollutants harmful to human health, and therefore, all persons should avoid areas of stormwater runoff (i.e. guts, puddles and drainage basins). DPNR will continue to monitor the impacted areas and waters.
DPNR also advises the public to complete the following tasks to protect drinking water resources in preparation for an impending hurricane disaster and the resulting potential water resources emergency:
1) Downspouts leading to cisterns should be completely disconnected or blocked securely to protect the water source.
2) A two-week supply of potable water should be stored in a safe weatherproof place, preferably indoors. This water supply will provide water for drinking, cooking and bathing. To figure out how much water someone will need for a two-week supply multiply the number of residents by 20 gallons per person, per day and then multiply that number by 14 days. For example, a family of four should store 1,120 gallons of water.
3) An adequate supply of disinfecting agents [liquid chlorine containing 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite (i.e. Clorox), powdered chlorine (active ingredient calcium hypo chloride) or iodine] should be on hand and stored in a safe place.
4) A supply of sterile potable water bottles and other suitable containers should be secured to store water.
A list of emergency water supplies may be obtained from the Division of Environmental Protection of DPNR on St. Thomas or St. Croix.
As a reminder, these precautions should be taken only if a major storm or hurricane is imminent and poses a severe threat to the person’s water supply.
Moreover, DPNR advises all contractors, developers and home builders to immediately maintain and implement additional erosion and sediment control measures at all areas where property is cleared, graded, filled or otherwise disturbed.
Please take this opportunity to locate areas that may need additional erosion and sediment control measures and install them. Measures include, but are not limited to the following:
Preservation of Natural Vegetation
Clean/Clear Drainage Swales/Diversions
Install Temporary and Permanent Seeding
Add Soil Sealers/Binders
Install Erosion Control Mats
Add/Build Soil Retaining Walls
Assess Construction Entrances/Exits
Install/Fix Silt Fencing
Clear Sediment Traps
Add Mulch, Mats and Geotextiles
It is also advised that all construction materials and equipment be removed from sites or be properly secured. This includes all items likely to become airborne objects that may cause damage to yours or adjacent property.
To report any areas of concern, contact the Division of Environmental Protection Earth Change Program at 340-774-3320 or 340-773-1082.