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Return of ‘grease balls’ to Grape Bay

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“Sewage balls”, also known as “grease balls”, have again been found on at least one of the South Shore beaches — three years after a study showed that sewage outfall had created a “public health hazard”.

The resulting outrage led to a Bermuda Government assurance that the water quality would be monitored on a daily basis and measures taken to rid the island of potential pollution.

However, yesterday the balls — once described as “human waste wrapped in a grease raincoat” — reappeared at Grape Bay Beach.

Resident Debra Norman discovered a line of the sewage balls when she went for a morning walk on the beach yesterday.

“Most of these grease balls are made up of faecal matter”, she told The Royal Gazette. “What happens in the sewage pipes is that anything that floats gets collected in the grease. If you walk along the beach, they actually get bigger and there are more bits.

“Dogs and birds do tend to come along and gobble up all the sewage, which is not nice.

“You can actually see the grey lines going up and down the beach.

“The Government said that they have done something to deal with it but this is one of the worst days I have ever seen.”

Last night the Ministry of Health and Seniors released a statement promising a “clean-up within the next 24 hours”.

“Today's report is being investigated,” added the statement. “The water quality in this area will be subject to increased testing as we look to solve the source of the grease balls.

“Since the last recreational water testing measures of August 15, 17 and 22, there have been no issues with the seawater quality at Grape Bay. The results are available at https://www.gov.bm/seawater-monitoring-programme-bathing-beaches

“Since the last report was brought to the Department's attention on August 16, the water was re-tested at related beaches confirming good seawater quality, a clean-up of Grape Bay was undertaken on August 17, bypasses were checked by engineers confirming no failures, and an expedited outfall dive was requested.

“The public is asked to report concerns to Environmental Health on 278-5333.”

Since the outcry in 2013, following a study by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, the Government put in place a number of measures to reduce the amount of harmful fats, oils and grease (FOG) in the island's sewage waste stream.

The Control Policy requires all food establishments to remove all FOG from their wastewater prior to disposing it in the City sewer system.

As recently as last Monday, the health ministry issued a statement explaining that routine seawater samples that were taken had been clear.

Raising concerns: area resident Debra Norman, 49, looks over Grape Bay Beach after finding grease balls yesterday morning (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Ruined beauty spot: Grape Bay Beach covered with grease balls yesterday morning (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published August 25, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 25, 2016 at 5:24 am)

Return of ‘grease balls’ to Grape Bay

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