Group Title: Virgin Islands Water Resources Institute annual technical report
Title: Virgin Islands Water Resources Institute annual technical report. FY 2003.
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 Material Information
Title: Virgin Islands Water Resources Institute annual technical report. FY 2003.
Series Title: Virgin Islands Water Resources Institute annual technical report
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: United States Virgin Islands. Water Resources Research Center
Affiliation: University of the Virgin Islands -- Caribbean Research Institute -- Water Resources Research Center
Publisher: United States Virgin Islands
Publication Date: 2004
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300598
Volume ID: VID00004
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Virgin Islands Water Resources Research Institute

Annual Technical Report
FY 2003


The Virgin Islands Water Resources Research Institute (VIWRRI) is located at the University of the
Virgin Islands, the only institution of higher learning in the Virgin Islands. The University, primarily an
undergraduate teaching institution, has campuses on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix and a field
station on St. John. The VIWRRI is part of the Universitys research and public service sub-component.
Since 1973, its integrated program of research, information dissemination and training has been
responding to water resources needs in the Virgin Islands. These needs in general evolve from the
challenge of providing water of sufficient quantity and quality to a population from varied sources.
Included among these are non-conventional ones such as rainfall and desalination. There is also the
additional challenge of disposing of the wastewater produced in a setting where maintenance of a pristine
environment both for health, ecological and economic reasons is a top priority. The VIWRRI is guided in
its activities by an Advisory Board that includes representatives of major stakeholders in the Virgin
Islands community. This board insures that the program of the VIWRRI is not only consistent with
priorities of the national water institute program but also that issues addressed are of local relevance.

The VIWRRIs program for FY 2003 included a research investigation of the fecal bacteria removal
efficiency of stormwater best management practices that are in use in the Virgin Islands. Results of this
investigation will have application to resource planning and management in the Virgin Islands and other
similar insular tropical areas. An information transfer activity in the FY 2003 program will develop and
demonstrate a management procedure applicable to small, mountainous islands trying to preserve the
natural environment. Accomplishments on these projects are summarized in this annual report.

Research Program

Fecal Coliform Bacteria Removal Efficiency for Stormwater
BMPs in the Virgin Islands

Basic Information

Fecal Coliform Bacteria Removal Efficiency for Stormwater BMPs in the Virgin

Project Number: 2003VI9B
Start Date: 5/1/2003

End Date: 2/28/2004

Funding Source: 104B


Research Category: Not Applicable

Focus Category: Non Point Pollution, Water Quality, Hydrology

Fecal Coliform Bacteria, Best Management Practices, BMP, Nonpoint Source
Pollution, Bacterial Contamination

Principal Henry H. Smith, R. Heath Kelsey


1. No publications have resulted to date from this research project.

Summary Report on

Fecal Coliform Bacteria Removal Efficiency for Stormwater
Runoff BMPs in the Virgin Islands

Problem and Research Objectives

Fecal pollution from nonpoint sources has been recognized as a major source of water
quality impairment in streams, estuaries, and near coastal ocean waters throughout the
United States, including the Virgin Islands (DPNR 2003). Fecal pollution is typically
indicated by the presence of indicator organisms, including fecal coliform bacteria. Fecal
coliform bacteria can originate from human, domestic animal, or wildlife sources, and
may present exaggerated problems in tropical areas due to warm temperatures and heavy
rainfall (Toranzos 1999).

Best Management Practices (BMPs) used for reducing fecal coliform bacterial
contamination of stormwater runoff in the Virgin Islands has included detention ponds, as
well as vegetated swales, filter strips, and other engineered structures (DPNR, 2003).
Unfortunately, the efficiency of fecal coliform bacteria removal by various BMPs is
largely unknown, particularly on local or regional levels. Overall, testing of fecal
coliform bacterial removal using BMPs has been limited, and has generally occurred in
more temperate areas. Results have shown wide variations in BMP removal efficiency
on a regional basis and results from one area may not be applicable to others (Scheuler

The research objective for this project was to evaluate the performance of detention
ponds as BMPs for fecal coliform bacterial pollution reduction under conditions within
the Virgin Islands. Performance was evaluated by measuring fecal coliform loading at
the inlet to a detention pond and at the outlet during storm events. Loading was
calculated by integrating stormwater flow with fecal coliform density. The difference in
fecal coliform load in runoff water entering and exiting the pond allowed calculation of
the removal efficiency.


The detention pond studied in this effort is located just south of Weymouth Rhymer
Highway, in the upper portion of the Turpentine Run watershed in St. Thomas, U. S.
Virgin Islands (Figure 1.). The pond was chosen based on the regional use of detention
ponds as BMPs and local advice identifying the Turpentine Run gut as an area of concern
for pollutant loading into the Benner Bay and Mangrove Lagoon area receiving waters.
Although the pond may or may not have been installed specifically to serve as a BMP for
pollution reduction or stormwater retention, it serves to do so. Samples also were
obtained at the USGS Gaging Station at Turpentine Run (Figure 1), which has no BMP

installed. Effluent from a wastewater treatment facility located upstream potentially
impacts this section of Turpentine Run.

Figure 1. Location of Study Areas and Associated Watersheds

Sampling events occurred only during times of rainfall and generation of flow into the
pond. Water samples were collected per APHA Methods 9060 A., and 9060 B., for
collection of water and wastewater samples (APHA 1998). Bacterial enumeration was
performed immediately following sampling, and was accomplished by APHA Method
9222 B, for membrane filtration enumeration of fecal coliform bacteria (APHA 1998).
Stormwater velocity measurement occurred concurrently with collection of each water
sample. Stormwater flow was measured with a Marsh-McBirney Flowmate Model 2000
Portable Flowmeter, following guidelines for width integrated flow measurement in
streams and piped systems.

Principal Findings and Significance

Samples were obtained during rainfall events at the study area locations beginning on 2
November, and ending 13 November 2003. Data were obtained for fecal coliform
concentration, water flow, pH, temperature, and salinity. Rain events that generated
stormwater runoff and flow into the study area pond occurred on November 2, 3, 7, 8, 9,
and 13 (Table 1). In summary, it appears that the pond performs well as a BMP for
reducing fecal coliform loading, but the reductions seen are probably a result of the
stormwater storage capacity of the pond. When the storage of the pond was exceeded,
the pond did not appear to reduce fecal coliform density, and, in fact, it may have
increased (Table 1). Although the increase observed is not statistically measurable with
the single data point, it is possible that fecal coliform concentrations can increase due to
sediment re-suspension (Davies et al. 1995, Desmarais et al. 2002).

Table 1. Fecal Coliform Data

FCD Flow Load
Location Date Time (cfu/100ml) (m3/s) (cfu/s)
Pond Inlet 11/2/2003 14:10 28 0.000396 111
Pond Inlet 11/2/2003 15:10 27 0.001825 493
Pond Inlet 11/3/2003 13:35 9 0.000531 48
Pond Inlet 11/7/2003 08:10 162 0.00088 1427
Pond Inlet 11/8/2003 12:30 9 0.001056 95
Pond Inlet 11/9/2003 09:45 81 0.003605 2923
Pond Inlet 11/9/2003 11:45 18 0 0
Pond Inlet 11/13/2003 10:45 27 0.01216 3286

Pond Outlet 11/2/2003 14:16 28 0 0
Pond Outlet 11/2/2003 15:25 210 0 0
Pond Outlet 11/3/2003 13:45 36 0 0
Pond Outlet 11/7/2003 08:32 36 0 0
Pond Outlet 11/8/2003 12:50 9 0 0
Pond Outlet 11/9/2003 10:00 72 0 0
Pond Outlet 11/9/2003 11:59 0 0 0
Pond Outlet 11/11/2003 09:50 63 Flash Flood Conditions
Pond Outlet 11/13/2003 10:14 27 0.0182 4919

USGS Gaging Station 11/2/2003 16:40 1364 0.090614 1235642
USGS Gaging Station 11/3/2003 14:15 117 0.006796 7959
USGS Gaging Station 11/7/2003 08:54 1273 0.036812 468514
USGS Gaging Station 11/8/2003 13:12 54 0.017273 9337
USGS Gaging Station 11/9/2003 10:45 360 0.039644 142717
USGS Gaging Station 11/9/2003 12:15 270 0.028317 76455
USGS Gaging Station 11/11/2003 10:35 5000 8.877317 4.44E+08
USGS Gaging Station 11/12/2003 13:37 545 2.010493 10966324
USGS Gaging Station 11/12/2003 13:52 455 1.529107 6950487
USGS Gaging Station 11/12/2003 14:10 182 1.291246 2347720
USGS Gaging Station 11/13/2003 11:15 63 0.339802 214289

cfu =Colony Forming Units m3 =Cubic Meter s =Second

Between November 11 and 14, approximately 11.62 inches of rain were recorded at the
University of the Virgin Islands weather station. This storm event created hazardous
conditions at the study area pond site, and sampling there was not possible. The intensity
of the rainfall was unfortunate, in that the pond first experienced outflow beginning in
this event. Outflow from the pond was sampled only once, on November 13, when
conditions had temporarily improved. During the project sampling duration, this was the
only occasion that the pond storage capacity was exceeded, and only one data point is
available to compare inlet and outlet fecal coliform concentrations during periods of
outflow from the pond. Samples were obtained throughout this period at the USGS
Turpentine Run gaging station (Table 1).

It is interesting to note that although over 11.5 inches of precipitation was recorded at the
UVI weather station, less than 8 inches was recorded during the same time period at the
USGS Turpentine Run gaging station (Table 2). Additionally, although flow was
measured at the USGS Turpentine Run gaging station at each sampling event, visual
inspection revealed that little or no flow was often observed at areas farther downstream.
Because pollutant loading from Turpentine Run is of concern to Benner Bay and the

Mangrove Lagoon area receiving waters, it suggests that the relationships between
rainfall and stormwater runoff at the Turpentine Run watershed outlet needs to be better
understood. It is also apparent that the spatial variability of rainfall on St. Thomas needs
to be evaluated.

Table 2. Rainfall Data

Rainfall by Location (in)
Date UVI Gaging Station
11/12/2003 2.09 1.78
11/13/2003 2.67 3.29
11/14/2003 4.08 2.71
11/15/2003 2.78 0.15
Total 11.62 7.93

Final project activities will include the installation of a water level indicator at the study
area pond. A Global Water Instrumentation, Inc., Model WL-15 water level indicator has
been purchased and will be installed during the week of July 12-16, 2004. The water
level indicator will provide data for the evaluation of pond hydrodynamic properties,
watershed response, and evaporation rates. Data collected will be useful in completing
hydrologic analyses begun in October 2003, but which were interrupted by extreme flood
conditions in the study area pond. Although the current project extension period ends as
of August 31, 2004, analyses will continue beyond the project end date, and may be
incorporated into further funded research efforts.


APHA. 1998. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 20th
Edition. American Public Health Association. Water Pollution Control Federation.
United Book Press, Baltimore Maryland.

Davies, C.M., J.A.H. Long, M. Donald, and N.J. Ashbolt. 1995. Survival of Fecal
Microorganisms in Marine and Freshwater Sediments. Applied and Environmental
Microbiology 61(5): 1888-1896

Desmarais, T.R., H.M. Solo-Gabriele, and C.J. Palmer. 2002. Influence of Soil on
Fecal Indicator Organisms in a Tidally Influenced Subtropical Environment. Applied
and Environmental Microbiology 68(3): 1165-1172

Division of Planning and Natural Resources. 2003. Coastal Water Quality
Monitoring Manual. Accessed March 19, 2003. Available:
httD://www.ocrm.nos.noaa. ov/PDF/USVI Monitoring Manual.odf

Schueler, T. 2000. Why Stormwater Matters. In: The practice of watershed
protection. Pp365-376. Center for Watershed Protection, Ellicott City, MD.

Toranzos, G. 1999. Tropical Microbiota and its Influence on Water Quality.
Abstract. Accessed March 19, 2003. Available: semi

Information Transfer Program

Coral Bay Watershed: Development of Management Measures
for Sediment and Pollution Reduction Phase II

Basic Information

T : Coral Bay Watershed: Development of Management Measures for Sediment and
Pollution Reduction Phase II

Project Number: 2003VIllB
Start Date: 6/1/2003

End Date: 2/28/2004
Funding Source: 104B


Research Category: Not Applicable
Focus Category: Water Quality, Conservation, Non Point Pollution

Descriptors: Watershed Management, Stormwater Management

Principal Barry Devine


1. No publications have resulted as yet from this project.

Summary Report on

Coral Bay Watershed: Development of Management Measures
for Sediment and Pollution Reduction- Phase II

Problem and Objectives

Non-point source pollution of coastal embayments resulting from runoff contamination,
sediment deposition and the health hazards caused by dumping of unregulated human
waste is a common problem in the Virgin Islands and in most small, mountainous,
tropical islands throughout the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

The Coral Bay watershed, St. John, United States Virgin Islands, with the highest
population growth rate in the Virgin Islands, is typical of many watersheds throughout
the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean, having a large watershed to bay area ratio. Many
miles of unpaved roads and inappropriate land uses cause runoff and sedimentation,
leading to poor water quality and deterioration of marine resources in waters extending
well offshore and into the benthic zone.

A Phase I study within this watershed and the surrounding marine waters, funded by the
Non-Point Source Pollution Program at the Department of Planning and Natural
Resources, has investigated sediment deposition rate, sediment deposition history and the
impact on water quality, fisheries diversity and coral reef health. The proposed study will
complete Phase II of this project by developing and demonstrating management
procedures applicable to many small, mountainous tropical islands trying to preserve the
natural environment.

The primary objective of this project is to use the previously collected data to educate and
organize the critical audience of residents, businesses and visitors to non-point source
issues affecting water quality in their watershed and to assist them in organizing a
watershed residents association with a primary objective of educating and encouraging
the larger general population and visitors to use best management practices for water
resource protection. The methodology of a watershed focus, where residents have a
common identifiable interest in quality of life, has a high impact and transferability
within small watershed communities typical of many Caribbean and Pacific locations.


A variety of methodologies will be used to meet the objectives of this project. Several of
the objectives are associated with organizing people in the community, developing
educational information and providing educational meetings to share this information.
Other objectives for this project will require more specific methods to gather information.

Reef Assessment Sampling This effort will use the coral reef video transect sampling
methodology currently in use by U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service and the
University of the Virgin Islands. Three transect locations previously sampled plus
several additional sites at other locations in the bay will provide a representative
sampling of coral reef areas in the bay for baseline knowledge of reef health.

Stormwater Chemistry Assessment The intent is to sample gut water (stormwater
runoff) in selected guts within the major portion of the watershed. Standard and
acceptable laboratory techniques will be used to complete a broad analysis of potential
contaminants within flowing guts. This effort will identify possible pollutants originating
from land-based sources.

Preliminary Stormwater Management Plan A professional engineering firm will be
hired to complete the task of evaluating the hydraulic studies of the watershed using the
TR55 methodology and physical data supplied by University's Conservation Data Center.
After drainage computations are complete, preliminary calculations will determine the
stormwater alternatives available to address the sedimentation and runoff problems. The
final task will require the contractor to provide stormwater schematics and cost estimates
to handle this non-point source pollution.

Watershed Atlas Using existing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) methodology,
all data layers useful for watershed planning will be gathered into a hardcopy and digital
atlas of the Coral Bay watershed. This will include data layers for topography, vegetation,
marine communities, slope analysis, watershed bounds, National Park bounds, Coral Reef
National Monument bounds, Area of Particular Concern (APC) bounds, soils,
bathymetry, flood hazard, existing and proposed zoning and land use changes.

Progress Made

This project commenced on February 1, 2004. Activities and efforts conducted to date

1. Watershed Community Organization- As a result of the Phase I project, a
residents association was organized and membership to date is over 150 of 700
residents. Four committees have been formed and all are active in educating,
informing and organizing residents. Three presentations have been made on Best
Management Practices for watershed residents by the University's Cooperative
Extension Service and Conservation Data Center.
2. Watershed Brochure The final draft of the watershed brochure has been
completed. Printing is planned for June 2004.
3. Watershed Atlas Many of the data layers have been gathered and a preliminary
layout has been completed to begin development of the atlas.
4. Preliminary Stormwater Management Plan A Scope of Work (SOW) has been
generated for the plan and the scope has been provided to four engineering firms
for bid and task identification.

5. Reef Assessment Sampling a research dive team has been organized and plans
are being made to complete sampling during the June-September period.
6. Stormwater Chemistry This sampling will be conducted during the wet season
from September through December 2004. A local laboratory has been identified
to conduct analytical tests for broad spectrum contaminants.
7. Coral Bay Road and Home Maps The location, size and type of roads in the
watershed are critical factors for determining problematic sediment locations.
The GIS road and residence data layers have been completed. These data will be
incorporated into the atlas, but the data will also be used to identify problem areas
within the watershed for priority restoration. These maps are also being used as
the first Emergency Medical Services locator system, a problem throughout the


A final version of a community organization brochure and membership application has
been prepared for publication in June 2004.

Presentations on this project have been already made to the Coral Bay Community
Organization on February 2, 2004 and to the St. John Rotary on February 13, 2004.

Presentations are presently planned for the Cooperative Extension Service's workshop -
"Keeping a Healthy Septic System" in March 2004, at the workshop "Visioning -
Planning the Future of Coral Bay" offered by Ms. Terri Mars in April 2004, the
NOAA/EPA "Land-based Sources of Pollution Conference" on May 17, 2004 and at a
workshop titled "Planting for Erosion Control and Drought Tolerance" that will be
offered by Ms. Eleanor Gibney in the coming year.

Student Support

Student Support

Category Section 104 Section 104 NIWR-USGS Supplemental Total
Category Total
Base Grant RCGP Award Internship Awards
Undergraduate 0 0 0 0 0
Masters 0 0 0 0 0
Ph.D. 1 0 0 0 1
Post-Doc. 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 0 0 1

Notable Awards and Achievements

Publications from Prior Projects

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