Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
The Territory’s residents are urged to apply safety measures to ensure water quality following the impact of a flood.
Acting Chief Environmental Health Officer, Mrs. Yolanda Penn said that it is important that contaminated municipal, cistern and stored water must be purified before use.
“If you are unsure that the water supply is safe for use or suspect contamination you should boil water for at least five minutes,” she said, adding, “If boiling is not an option, use household bleach by adding six drops to one gallon of water. After mixing, allow to stand for 30 minutes. At this point, there should be a slight smell of chlorine coming from the water. If not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for a further 15 minutes.”
The other option is to treat clear water with iodine using the formula, two to three drops per quart of water, which is equivalent to one litre. Highly coloured water will need eight to ten drops of iodine which should be mixed and allowed to stand for 30 minutes.
Mrs. Penn said persons who have concerns as to whether their cistern water is contaminated should take a sample to the Water and Sewage Department for testing. If the cistern is tested positive for contamination, a copy of the results will be sent to the Environmental Health Division and an officer will assist the customer with the problem.
The Acting Chief further stated that concerns are being raised that some septic tanks may have been flooded resulting in effluent being mixed with flood waters.
“Bearing this in mind persons should flush and disinfect their yards, wear shoes when outdoors, and when returning inside the house shoes should be left outside and disinfected where possible. If you suspect that your septic tank may have been flooded, contact the Environmental Health Division at 468-5110”, Mrs. Penn cautioned.
The Environmental Health Division is committed to ensuring that all aspects of the environment with the potential to negatively impact health are managed efficiently to enable all persons in the BVI to attain and maintain optimal health and social well-being.