Improper Wastewater Disposal Poses Health Risk In BVI.

Photo: Creative Commons. A 1000 gallon septic tank being installed underground.
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The Environmental Health Division is strongly advising residents to take necessary, decisive action to remedy and improve the treatment and disposal of wastewater throughout the community.

Chief Environmental Health Officer Lionel Michael said that the poor and inadequate disposal of wastewater exposes residents, specifically children and the elderly to several public health risks.

‘Residents are exposed by walking in wastewater, being splashed by it or the inhalation of aerosols.  In addition wastewater causes serious damage and destruction to public roads and property, promotes mosquito breeding and significantly increases the risk of spreading vector-borne diseases,” Mr. Michael explained.

What is wastewater? Wastewater includes but is not limited to:

  1. Greywater (water from showers, sinks, tubs and washing machines)
  2. Blackwater (sewage from septic tanks and soak away)
  3. Storm Water (including rain water)

The Chief advised that there are steps that can be taken to improve the treatment and disposal of wastewater.

“We want persons to design and construct an appropriate septic tank, soak-away, and treatment systems.  We also want individuals to assess the current capacity of septic and soak away systems and to treat and dispose of all waste from the property,” he advised.

According to Mr. Michael, septic and holding tanks should be cleaned and pumped on a scheduled basis and under no circumstances should untreated wastewater be disposed of from your property onto streets or neighboring property.

septic tank is an underground chamber made of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic through which domestic wastewater flows for basic sewage treatment. They can be used in areas that are not connected to a sewerage ystem, such as rural areas. The treated liquid effluent is commonly disposed in a septic drain field, which provides further treatment. Nonetheless, groundwater pollution may occur and can be a problem.

Persons requiring additional information on the management of wastewater can contact the Environmental Health Division at 468-5110.

Source: BVI GIS.
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