US Consulate issues sewage warning
The US Consulate has warned Americans that the Island’s beaches could be a health hazard due to sewage contamination.
And it said that any US tourists planning to swim off the south shore should consider immunisations for Hepatitis A and typhoid.
The advisory, published on the Consulate website, said that sewage contamination along the south shore could reach four times the acceptable US standard at times.
The shock warning published today said a scientific study carried out last year showed pumping untreated sewage out to sea causes “intermittent contamination” of the waters off the south shore, “creating a public health hazard.”
The Consulate advisory added: “Changing weather conditions — winds, swells, tides and rain — can bring rapid degradation of water quality along the beaches, resulting in human bacteria levels from fecal contamination up to four times the acceptable US standard.”
And it said: “In 2013, as many as five of the beaches were described as ‘unfit for recreational use’ on different occasions based on water samples.
The advisory added that swimmers could be hit by gastroenteritis, ear infections, respiratory illnesses and other infections,
And it said: “In addition, as a general medical matter, persons exposed to sewage-contaminated water face increased risk of Hepatitis A, eye infections and typhoid.”
The warning added: “The Government of Bermuda has announced that it plans to take measures to reduce or treat the outfall, but as of March 2014, the dumping continues unabated.”
The advisory was based on a study carried out by experts from the University of Laval in Canada and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).
Government Departments of Health, Environment and the Bermuda Central Government Laboratory were also involved in the study.
See the Royal Gazette’s original story on the Seabright outfall here (hyperlink: http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20140318/NEWS07/140319775)