SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – The Nature Foundation carried out water quality tests at Great Bay Beach after the rainy conditions of the last week resulted in major runoff in the Great Bay Area. Runoff from the communities surrounding Great Bay as well as the opening of the floodgates of the Great Salt Pond resulted in a drop-in water quality at Great Bay Beach, prompting the foundation to carry out water quality tests.
After samples were taken the presence of coliform bacteria, an indicator for sewage, was recorded. The Nature Foundation therefore recommends caution to swimmers using Great Bay Beach, in particular east of the Captain Hodge Pier.
“Unfortunately, we have recorded some concern of the water quality in Great Bay and as such we recommend bathers exercise extreme caution when using the beach. These results again highlight the urgent need for the country to address wastewater management and the way we manage runoff unto our breaches.
“Beaches are our most important natural and economic resource and we have to ensure that the quality of our seawater is always at optimal quality,” commented Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.
A drop-in water quality results in damage to coral reefs and seagrass beds and may also cause ear infections and skin irritation in swimmers and bathers in affected areas. The Nature Foundation will continue to monitor the quality at Great Bay Beach and will communicate subsequent testing results.