Government

St. Croix Water Safety Measures Persist Amid New Findings

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In St. Croix, the distribution of water vouchers will continue, as recent test results indicating elevated copper and lead levels are now under scrutiny. The Bryan administration confirmed in Monday’s press briefing that the local state of emergency, initially set to conclude on November 30th, will be extended for an additional 30 days. This extension facilitates ongoing inquiries into the island’s water quality.

Governor Bryan emphasized the administration’s commitment to public health and safety. “We are diligently working with FEMA and other federal entities to refine our testing methods and guarantee precise evaluations in the future,” he stated. “Ensuring the highest water quality standards for our residents remains a critical concern for us.”

Communications Director Richard Motta conveyed this commitment, noting the distribution of approximately 6,100 bottled water vouchers to residents thus far. The persistent issue of discolored water in many St. Croix homes necessitates this continued governmental support. Additionally, lead testing for children aged 0 to 6 remains a priority.

The Department of Health is conducting a comprehensive survey to gauge the impact of the water crisis on the community. Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion highlighted the survey’s goals: “We aim to understand domestic water usage and the crisis’s effects on residents’ physical and mental health.” Encarnacion encouraged public participation in this important assessment.

Efforts to test the water distribution system are ongoing, with a focus on accuracy and community reassurance. Howell Mark, Environmental Program Manager at the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, acknowledged the time-intensive nature of this process. “We are committed to thoroughness in sampling and analysis. We will promptly share our findings with the community,” he assured.

FEMA’s additional support, which arrived in the territory on Monday, is centered on mapping previously tested sites, further bolstering the comprehensive response to ensure water safety.

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