Heavy rains cause overflows in St. Thomas sewage system


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Rainy weather during the last few days has caused a heavy inflow of storm water into the territory's sewage system, which has caused overflows in some areas.

The V.I. Waste Management Authority released a statement on Tuesday afternoon cautioning residents about the impact the weather has had.

"In some areas throughout the territory, both rain water and stormwater flows into the sewer system. The flow may exceed the pumping capacity at various pump stations that pump sewage from residences and businesses through the wastewater collection system," the release said. "This impact may continue for several days until the run-off flow subsides."

It went on to note that overflows have been reported at the Long Bay Pump Station on St. Thomas.

"Work is currently being performed at this facility to upgrade the station by replacing aged pumps with new energy efficient pumps and controls," the release said. "A pump-around system is currently in place to redirect the flow around the pump station while the pumps are being replaced."

However, the massive amounts of stormwater running into the system during torrential downpours exceeded the capacity of the pump-around system, resulting in intermittent overflow at manholes in low-lying areas, according to the Waste Management Authority.

Work at the Long Bay Pump Station is expected to be finished by Friday.

The Waste Management advisory asked motorists to "exercise extreme caution" when traveling on flooded roadways during and after heavy rainfall to avoid potential areas where manholes have overflowed.

"Residents are also asked to avoid areas with standing waters. Persons with impacted immune systems are especially reminded to avoid all flood areas," the release said.

The National Weather Service in San Juan said that the territory could see more rain this week.

"Throughout the whole week, we're seeing the scattered showers coming in and going out," said Amaryllis Cotto, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Juan.

The Waste Management Authority is asking residents to report any overflows to the agency by calling 715-9100 on St. Thomas, 712-4962 on St. Croix and 774-2141 on St. John.

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