The United States Virgin Islands Department of Health (USVI DOH), supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are collecting cistern water samples from selected households on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix from mid-July through mid-August. Findings will help health officials develop improved recommendations on how to safely manage the quality of water from cisterns and help protect the health of the community.
Water will be tested for the presence of E. coli. Additionally, a smaller set of households will receive testing for other germs to give health officials a better understanding as to which ones could be more commonly found in cisterns.
Approximately 500 households will participate in the study during which residents will also answer questions about water management in their houses. Results from this study will help health officials provide additional steps to reduce germs in cistern water.
The USVI Department of Health will communicate new guidelines and recommendations on safely managing cistern water when available.
“As part of the hurricane recovery efforts continue, we appreciate the collaboration of the community during this important work that will allow us to have a better understanding of the germs that may be possibly found in cistern water, and to address recommendations to better manage them and protect public health,” said Jahnesta Ritter of the USVI Department of Health.
For more information regarding the Cistern Water Study, phone 718-1311, ext. 3841.