CBCC Assists Coral Bay Community to Test Potable Water

Filling drinking water glass (photo credit: Coral Bay Community Council)

The Coral Bay Community Council (CBCC) encourages residents to test their cistern potable drinking water on a regular basis (at least every six months) or if they notice any change in quality (i.e. taste, smell, color and visibility). Testing helps assure their potable water supply is safe to drink and bathe in, and that their filtration and UV purification methods are working.

During the recovery from the 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria, people became more aware of the value of finding out if their water contained bacteria above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Drinking Water Standards limits. Testing is an important task in managing drinking water from rainwater cisterns.

To assist residents with getting their drinking water tested, there is a special program currently being funded — by the Rotary District 7020 Hurricane Relief program and managed by the St. Thomas Rotary Club II in partnership with Ocean Systems Laboratory — to cover the cost of the drinking water analysis for residents. This program provides free residential drinking water tests for 1,000 cisterns.

Any resident on St. Thomas or St. John can get their water tested by going to Ocean Systems Laboratory (located in Red Hook, across the street from the Food Center, next to the new Taco Chelles restaurant). It is the only EPA-certified laboratory open to the public on St. Thomas and St. John. Pick up a sterile sample bottle and form. (A deposit for $10 dollars will be required for the sample bottle). Then fill the sample bottle and return it and the form to the laboratory on same day that the drinking water sample is collected. After the sample is analyzed, results are generally emailed from the laboratory to the resident within 72 hours.

It is also possible to schedule Ocean Systems Laboratory to come to a person’s home on St. Thomas and St. John (upon request by calling 714-1911) and collect samples for a fee of approximately $70, including the analysis.

“For most residents (owners, landlords, renters and boaters) in Coral Bay, making two trips to St. Thomas to get free water testing is just not realistic,” said Rachel McKinley, CBCC Environmental Projects manager. “Therefore, the Coral Bay Community Council (CBCC) will be helping Coral Bay residents to manage their potable water supply by providing a one-time group pick-up and drop-off service at CBCC’s office.”

This service was developed as an add-on to the St. Thomas Rotary Club II water testing program to alleviate the time and costs in picking up and dropping off drinking water samples for Coral Bay residents.

Residents can find information on maintaining their filters and UV purification on the website – https://coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/water-and-wastewater/potable-water-testing/ to participate in this event, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Starting Monday, April 1, residents can stop by the Coral Bay Community Council’s Office (across from the Coral Bay Fire Station) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to register with a deposit check for $10 payable to Ocean Systems Laboratory and pick up a sterilized container and sampling forms (until supplies run out). Sample bottles are limited and are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Step 2 – On Monday, April 8, residents will collect their drinking water sample and drop-off it along with forms from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Deposit checks will be returned upon receipt of the forms and sample.

This event is follow-on work that was supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department and a part of The Coral Bay Watershed Management Project https://coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/watershed-management-project/ Resource and Waste Management. https://coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/water-and-wastewater/

For more information about potable water and/ or wastewater treatment systems, contact Rachel McKinley, CBCC Environmental Projects manager at 776-2099 or [email protected] or stop by the office.