It is a little too tempting to dump one’s raw sewage straight into the ocean. After all, it is free and easy to do so, and the ocean is so big, what does it matter, right? When the Virgin Islands were more sparsely populated than they are today, when millions of people did not visit them annually, and when the islands were not already under environmental stress, that view may have been correct. But today, dumping raw sewage into the ocean is an environmental problem, causing beach closures and impacting the health of coral reefs and other underwater habitats.
The U.S. Virgin Islands’ wastewater treatment system is old and overwhelmed. Frequent malfunctions cause wastewater to flow, untreated, into the ocean. In the British Virgin Islands, there is no wastewater treatment system at all, except in the community of Cane Garden Bay. Sewage from Road Town is collected and pumped untreated into the sea. In other areas, residents rely on septic tanks.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition