Waste Management works to fix sewage break near Hull Bay

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ST. THOMAS - Residents and visitors fished, snorkeled and sunbathed at Hull Bay beach on Wednesday, unaware of a sewage break just down the road.

V.I. Waste Management Authority crews discovered a sewage break Friday at the Brassview Wastewater Treatment Plant near Suicide Hill, V.I. Waste Management Authority spokeswoman Stella Saunders said Wednesday.

"Are they fixing it?" asked John Aiken, a visitor from upstate New York who was fishing ankle-deep in the water.

Though the sewage should not make it to the bay, Saunders said, the Waste Management Authority did warn those who have compromised immune systems or respiratory health problems to stay away from the general area around the treatment plant.

Crews have since been disinfecting the area surrounding the spillage, which is restricted to the gut, or irrigation ditch, that runs down the hill, according to Waste Management.

Though crews originally planned to have replaced the line by the end of today, instead they are just beginning repairs today, Saunders said. A number of unexpected "emergencies" came up in the past few days, she said.

Still, the replacement of the existing cast iron line, which is more than 40 years old, should be complete by the week's end, according to Saunders. In its place will be 30 feet of new PVC pipe, which should last more than 30 years, she said.

"The old line was impacted by the storm water and the flow in the gut," Saunders said, explaining that the support for the line had been eroded and undermined in recent years.

The sewage line serves about two dozen homes in the vicinity, Saunders said, though it has a relatively low flow during the daytime because few people are at home. The impact on the area would be minimal, she said.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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