Hungry Bay resident won’t stop swimming

For one Hungry Bay resident, revelations over the impact of Bermuda’s sewage practises will not stop him and others from entering the water.

But, said Steve O’Reilly, more water-quality research and public access to that research is a must.

“I don’t think any of the families here at Hungry Bay have stopped going in the water, there’s not a panic,” said Mr O’Reilly. “But we would like to know the true extent and frequency of the pollution inshore where surfers, divers, and swimmers of all ages regularly are.”

Mr O’Reilly also indicated that Department of Health had met with him and other watersport enthusiasts to engage them in helping with more water-quality analysis, with the view towards incorporating an educational opportunity with schoolchildren.

While the Department of Health said talks are were ongoing, and could not comment, Mr O’Reilly said: “We are really pleased that Department of Health is keen to have us — the surfers and divers — engage with them to do more water analysis at regular surf spots.

“Water users and groups, including school groups potentially, will collect water samples and the DOH will do the lab work.

“Perhaps then everyone will have some idea of whether they are swimming and surfing in the faeces and other waste from Hamilton and the KEMH and what action is needed.”

From his home on Hungry Bay, which overlooks the Seabright sewage outfall, Mr O’Reilly ventured that it might not just be easterly winds and swell driving the sewage inshore.

“I suspect the whole Easterlies theory applies to Elbow and Grape Bay. Hungry Bay and [further] west might well have pollution in the prevailing southwesterly.

“Certainly we can see the slick heading towards us in those conditions.

“Emanating from the Seabright Buoy, most of the time, is a shiny slick on the ocean surface which frequently extends to the reef-line a few hundred yards off.”

Jeff Torgerson, staff meteorologist at Bermuda Weather Service, said he could not comment on whether the prevailing southwesterly winds could be driving sewage to waters further west.

“Prevailing winds are South Westerly, if you average throughout the year, which is relatively favourable for the offshore outflow,” said Mr Torgerson. “I’m not qualified to delve into [whether that could push sewage inshore.]

“I think that’s a little speculative. There’s a lot of influences.

“As far as climatologically, I think that’s the best we can do: indicate that a South Westerly flow is the most common.”

However, Mr Torgerson indicated that “an eastern flow and an anomalous easterly swell could happen about any time,” but that such conditions were more frequent from late spring, through summer, and into the fall season.

“There’s so much variability, locally, in how a particular weather system is going to act with or influence Bermuda.

“It all depends on the exact position of the centre of high pressure.”

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Published Apr 2, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 1, 2014 at 11:01 pm)

Hungry Bay resident won’t stop swimming

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