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Press Release From Independent Source

VI residents urged to properly dispose of waste water

Residents and homeowners in the Virgin Islands are being reminded that the improper drainage of wastewater on to public streets, roadways and ghuts constitutes a violation of the Public Health Act. Photo: GIS
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Virgin Islands’ residents and homeowners are being reminded that the improper drainage of wastewater on to public streets, roadways and ghuts constitutes a violation of the Public Health Act.

Chief Environmental Health Officer, Mr Lionel E. Michael said the Division has received numerous complaints and through monitoring and inspections in the areas of Belle Vue, Fat Hogs Bay, Hodge’s Creek and East End, the department has concluded that the source of the wastewater discharge is primarily from privately owned septic tanks.

Mr Michael stated that it was observed that on numerous occasions, septic tanks are poorly managed, resulting in intentional and/or unintentional discharge of wastewater into the government streets, roadways and ghuts.

“The discharge of wastewater throughout our communities exposes residents to numerous health risks.  It also undermines the integrity of our roads by creating gullies and potholes, which directly impede the flow of traffic and can even result in automobile accidents,” he added.

Wastewater is described as sewage, laundry water and water from the shower or kitchen. Residents who need assistance in wastewater management can telephone the Environmental Health Division at 468-5110.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development aspires to provide a caring and integrated system of health and social services that facilitates human development and quality of life in the [British] Virgin Islands.

6 Responses to “VI residents urged to properly dispose of waste water”

  • Dishustef (23/10/2019, 13:33) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Horsepath should be included also, someone please look into this.
  • Hodges Creek (23/10/2019, 15:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

    There is a peach house located near the road before you reach YEP, Owned by Mr. C*****e. He releases his waste water into the street. This was previously sent to VINO, the department of health was contacted. Videos of this being released into the road, where we have to stand and cross. Nothing was done. There is also a health worker who resides in that very same building. They are killing us slowly. We are tired of complaining.

  • Well Sah (23/10/2019, 16:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

    Please let's not forget several areas in South Valley, Virgin Gorda including Morning Glory, in the area of Flow and the one way road pass Scrapie. It is sad to know that some of these offenders even own sewerage trucks. Well Sah...Pure Nastiness.
  • Public health (23/10/2019, 20:31) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    If we are to continue depending on septic system, the govt should set out to catalog every septic system in the territory. It should also enact legislation that require pump outs (every 5-7 years). Goals for improvements also should be set. New buildings to meet modern standards. Older buildings to be upgraded over time, perhaps with grants so that folks with limited means can upgrade. Occupancies should be limited to septic capacity. Need also to educate the community about proper septic system practices (eg use biodegradable soaps and detergents). There should also be regular analysis of waters around the islands, for which a lab could be set up. All this would create lasting jobs, and would result in a cleaner environment.
  • E. Leonard (24/10/2019, 23:19) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ideally, at this juncture, most buildings/facilities on Tortola should be connected to a central sewage system. Nonetheless, a number of buildings are still using septic systems, a primary sewage treatment system, for both black water (toilet)and gray water (shower, kitchen). Typically, a septic system consist of a tank and leaching field. Properly constructed and with minimal maintenance a tank should last a long time; septic system can be invisible and odorless. Leaching field fields require periodic treatment and rotation.

    The size (volume) of a septic tank is based on the number of occupants in a building. On average, each person uses 95 gallons of water per day; the tank must be sized to hold waste entering it for at least 3 days. Waste entering a tank results in solids settling out to the bottom and scum rising to the top. Anaerobic bacteria breaks down the solids (organic matter). As the volume entering the tank increases, water is discharged from the tank into the leaching field where it is acted upon buy aerobic bacteria further purifying the waste. Inorganic substances entering the tank can impact the tank operation.

    The solids that are not breakdown by the anaerobic bacteria settles to the bottom and needs to be periodically pumped out. An undersized tank results in solids(less than 3 days) flowing out the tank without being acted upon anaerobic bacteria, clogging the leaching field and causIng an odor. A system without a leaching field has to be pumped pumped out more frequently. The pumped out effluent as noted in the article must be disposed of properly and safely, for the pathogens can posed health risks to people. . The question is where can the effluent be properly discharged. Can it be taken to a treatment plant? Moreover, a properly designed and constructed tank that is effectively sized and the leaching field is properly constructed and sized should result in a functioning sewage system, requiring only periodic pump out. Septic system should not be sited down stream form wells......etc.
  • Socrates (25/10/2019, 09:28) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Should the BVI consider putting treated waste back into the water treatment system? Which agency/department sign off on a septic system to ensure it meets the minimum requirements? How often is the system inspected after construction? What is the penalty for improperly disposing of sewage? Are both the transporter and owner penalized? When will most of the BVI be connected to a municipal system? Are some lots in the BVI too small for a proper leaching field? Is a properly functioning municipal sewage system a requisite for being classified as a First World/Developed country?

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