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VG residents complain of seaweed stench & taste in tap water

- Local authorities assure no health risks; said measures in place to rectify
Over the past few days residents of Virgin Gorda have been flooding social media with complaints and concerns about the quality of water they have been receiving through their taps and have been calling on the relevant authorities to step in and have it addressed in short order. The residents said the water smells and tastes of sargassum seaweed. Photo: VINO/File
Representative for the Ninth District Dr The Honourable Hubert O’Neal said he too was in receipt of complaints and while he had launched an investigation and responded to the concerns raised via his Facebook page, he further assured residents that the situation is being rectified. Photo: VINO
Representative for the Ninth District Dr The Honourable Hubert O’Neal said he too was in receipt of complaints and while he had launched an investigation and responded to the concerns raised via his Facebook page, he further assured residents that the situation is being rectified. Photo: VINO
W&SD said that following extensive dialogue with the production company in Virgin Gorda, it was established that the chlorination process was being affected. Photo: VINO/File
W&SD said that following extensive dialogue with the production company in Virgin Gorda, it was established that the chlorination process was being affected. Photo: VINO/File
Virgin Gordians may not be so welcoming of the sargassum seaweed as its stench and taste have reportedly been getting into the tap water on the sister island. Photo: VINO/File
Virgin Gordians may not be so welcoming of the sargassum seaweed as its stench and taste have reportedly been getting into the tap water on the sister island. Photo: VINO/File
VALLEY, Virgin Gorda, VI – Over the past few days residents of Virgin Gorda have been flooding social media with complaints and concerns about the quality of water they have been receiving through their taps and have been calling on the relevant authorities to step in and have it addressed in short order.

The problem, based on the complaints that have reached this news site’s attention, has been affecting most residents in the Handsome Bay area of Virgin Gorda.

‘Disgusting’

Complaining about the stench and foul taste of the tap water, some residents posted their disgust and discomfort on social media. “Mine has been like that for the past few days...its disgusting...I hope I don't get some type of skin disease and itch....I not even putting it in my mouth to brush my teeth...sighhh…”

“It's those nasty smelling things in the sea water..... Remember that's that same water that they recycle and distribute. When I wash my clothes I realise that scent is on it too. Just like seaweed. Craziness.”

“Omg that's no good this is serious they need to look into it before it gets worst. Did anybody make a complain about it?”

Seaweed problem

Last night, September 29, 2015, this news site caught up with Representative for the Ninth District Dr The Honourable Hubert O’Neal who said he too was in receipt of complaints and while he had launched an investigation and responded to the concerns raised via his Facebook page, he further assured residents that the situation is being rectified.

“The problem is the sargassum [seaweed] just invading us, all the beaches in the BVI but especially at Handsome Bay where the water plant is and apparently the intake is being clogged at points with it and I think partly that’s where some of the odor is coming from,” Hon O’Neal told this news site.

He said also that it is his understanding the chlorination of the water was not up to standard. “So I think they are now addressing that, they are getting it rectified,” the District Representative stated, adding that based on his investigations as of Monday September 28, 2015 there have been noticeable improvements in the water quality. “At least it doesn’t smell as bad so it’s more usable now.”

‘Not a health hazard’

According to Hon O’Neal, based on his communication with the relevant authorities who he said have been doing testing of the water since the complaints, it is not a health hazard. “It’s not going to make you sick, some people feel it’s going to give you a rash on your skin and that kind of thing but it’s not going to do that. It just has an odour but it’s really not a hazard.”

Via a Facebook post, the Water and Sewerage Department (W&SD) acknowledged complaints about the situation and assured residents that corrective measures are in full gear.

W&SD said that following extensive dialogue with the production company, it was established that the chlorination process was being affected.

“Last evening, (Monday night) the Production Company increased its chlorine dosage to bring its chlorine level within standard. In addition to this, and to further safeguard our customers, a Laboratory Technician from the Water and Sewerage Department will be on the island this morning (Tuesday September 29, 2015), to work along with the production plant to ensure that the water is being properly dosed with chlorine in sufficient quantities,” said W&SD.

The department further said that due to this “breach” in the chlorine standard, the Water and Sewerage Department increased its water testing activity on the island, especially in the Handsome Bay area.

“Please note that we are assured that the breach was observed in good time and should therefore not cause any health issue. However, it is recommended that all customers boil the water prior to each use, until further notice. Further, although the situation will be shortly confirmed as stabilised, customers are advised that, as extra precaution, it is good practice to always boil the water prior to use,” added W&SD.

17 Responses to “VG residents complain of seaweed stench & taste in tap water”

  • qc (30/09/2015, 09:20) Like (26) Dislike (11) Reply
    the NDP cannot handle crisis
  • political snitch (30/09/2015, 09:27) Like (48) Dislike (6) Reply
    That one just came out of his shell? Where was he all this time, on his political honeymoon?
  • bvi (30/09/2015, 10:58) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
    He a waste a time next time I voting he out dead aaaaaa
  • onlooker2 (30/09/2015, 11:29) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    That's mothernature for we...We can't not stop it..Ok its is in everyone water tap.If u does cook with tap water sad for u..I don't...I take bath with,it wash my teeth ..but not cook with it..Any ideas for government to help stop this ,please let me know..If not..Blame Mothernature...
  • consultant (30/09/2015, 11:49) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    The problem very likely has to do with where the water is being drawn for the desal plant. Care needs to be taken with chlorination since excessive chlorine will also affect how the water tastes. Also, chlorination is unlikely to mitigate the sargassum taste, which are probably related to sulphur compounds (mercaptans), which have very low odor thresholds. The taste issue can be mitigated by filtering the water through charcoal filters that can be installed either at the tap (e.g. Brita filters), or at the point of entry into a dwelling but care needs to be taken to replace them frequently.
    Sadly, WS&D's suggestion that it is good practice to always boil water implies that they cannot be relied upon to provide potable water. It's worth noting that if the water contains mercaptans, boiling the water will release them, and thus create a temporary odor problem. Keep in mind that the air concentrations that the human nose can detect is orders of magnitude lower than levels considered to be harmful in the workplace.
  • 123 (30/09/2015, 12:08) Like (28) Dislike (1) Reply
    These leaders insult peoples intelligence
  • VG Resident (30/09/2015, 13:20) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    this is unacceptable
  • Guest (30/09/2015, 14:21) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    We over here building some of the biggest houses and luxury apartments in the BVI, but ain't putting in cistern then want to blame government with unforeseen environmental issues. You think if your house have in a whirlpool spa you need to be talking about street water??? Stop playing cheap, we don't necessarily have to pay to excavate over here yet some biggas don't build a cistern bigger than bathtubs.. Thank God my father had sense, I have yet to use a so call street water......
  • tola (30/09/2015, 19:32) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    I on Tortola and the scent is actually making me sick. At first I though a septic nearby burst.
  • Chris (30/09/2015, 21:30) Like (27) Dislike (0) Reply
    the NDP said the water plants in VG, both in the valley and north sound, were to be increased this year and a contract extension signed. To date no sign of work has started and we are less than two months to tourist season. Last year, with the drought, we had water shortages all over VG,. Peoples plants dead, wipe down sponge baths, water tasting like swimming pool. Now they say boil it to make it safe. Am I missing something as I thought I lived in a western civilised counyry, not afganistan or africa.
    Are we putting up with all this worry because the water company want the same deal as bi water with their electric bill paid. If thats all it is then get the dammed contract signed as if that deal is good enough for tortola companies to give tortola people water then it should be fair to give to VG company to supply VGpeople with water. If that is not the problem at least tell us what the problem is so we are not trying to guess. It is our tax money that pays you so do your jobsand tell us the truth. At least we wont believe all the rumors about waiting for kickbacks before signing if we are told the truth.
  • facts man (01/10/2015, 01:23) Like (33) Dislike (0) Reply
    nothing will be done until next election
  • Lily Ann (01/10/2015, 21:58) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ayo stop blame the government...the WHOLE of the Caribbean Countries in turmoil!!! stop acting new to seaweed,....its been around since VIP days,.....but now because of climate change, its becoming more frequent in the hot weather!!!!!
  • church boy (03/10/2015, 18:53) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Come on ppl I know it's nature but when I comes on land the Gov have to deal with it the sea weed at handsome bay been there a year now and nothing is doing about it remember these are tourist islands and the door nobles getting black and now dead fish and shark and other marine life. Ps I'm a faithful tax payer and something has to be done
  • Louiseplease (07/10/2015, 09:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We are wanting to come to the baths of GordA While in the usvi but not sure because of the seaweed.


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