State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008VI109B
Title: Water Quality in Virgin Islands Rain Water Collection Cisterns
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: Not Applicable
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Toxic Substances, Sediments
Keywords: cistern, water quality, trace metals, PAH, hydrocarbons.
Principal Investigators: Archibald, Thomas (University of Virgin Islands); Latesky, Stanley L.
Federal Funds: $ 20,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 0
Abstract: Until the mid 1990's most residential and commercial water in the Virgin Islands was held in rain water cisterns. The construction of large desalination plants by WAPA has taken the focus off cistern water quality. Although commercial water is available, cisterns are still widely used. Because of increases in water demand, cisterns are now often filled by water transferred in trucks using desalinated water as well as rain water. Pumps to fill the trucks and transfer the water to cisterns increase the likelihood of contamination. Increases in population have resulted in more jet traffic over-flights and environmental problems created from pollution from the Bovoni landfill. The islands have also been subjected to increasing Sahara dusts from Africa and volcanic ash from volcanic activity in the region, both of which provide a heretofore unstudied source of biological and inorganic cistern contamination.

It has been over ten years since the quality of cistern water has been investigated in a systematic way. No study of cistern contamination by metals, hydrocarbons or other pollutants has been previously done. This study will assess the current status of the safety of the water used by half of the residents of the Islands.

Progress/Completion Report, 2008, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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