Ministry Provides Update On “Greaseball” Issue

April 16, 2014

The Ministry of Health and Environment provided the an update regarding the “greaseballs” which have been spotted washing ashore this week on several South Shore beaches.

greaseballs on Bermuda beach Apr 2014 (5)

The full statement from the Ministry is below:

The Ministry of Health and Environment would like to provide the general public with an update regarding greaseballs which have been spotted washing ashore this week on several South Shore beaches.

What follows is a timeline of events.

On Sunday a weather pattern with Easterly winds and swell was forecast. Due to this, the Department of Health planned a proactive beach assessment for Monday as these conditions were similar to those which brought the greaseballs ashore this time last year.

On Monday daytime beach water quality samples were taken at Elbow Beach, Grape Bay, Warwick Long Bay, Horseshoe Bay, Hungary Bay, John Smiths Bay, Clearwater Beach, Shelly Bay, Tobacco Bay, and Snorkel Park and a thorough beach inspection was carried out by Health officials. In the evening there was a further inspection of beaches by Health officials.

At 7:15pm on Monday greaseballs were identified on Elbow Beach, and Health officials made arrangements with the Department of Parks for a dawn cleanup.

On Tuesday at 8am a dawn beach cleanup was concluded at Elbow Beach by Parks staff.

On Tuesday morning a Cabinet and special Cabinet committee met to discuss the matter and called technical officers and various stakeholders to Cabinet for a briefing, where it was decided that a 4pm press conference would be scheduled to alert members of the public to the greaseballs.

Parks staff performed further beach inspections and greaseball removal on Tuesday afternoon and Department of Health officials took water samples at the same locations as well as Southlands Beach and Church Bay.

Yesterday the Department of Health analyzed Monday’s water samples, shared them with the media and uploaded them to the portal website. The water quality met the safety standards for swimming.

Parks cleaned two beaches yesterday afternoon: Elbow Beach and Grape Bay. At 8pm Parks staff attended Elbow Beach (which they had also cleaned in the morning). They finished up at Grape Bay at approximately 8:40pm last night. Warwick Long Bay was also checked but found to have no greaseballs present.

This morning the Parks Superintendent attended Elbow Beach and Warwick Long Bay and reported they were clean and free of greaseballs. Parks attended Grape Bay this afternoon where they removed further greaseballs.

The Department of Health have analyzed Tuesday’s water samples and the results have found that Enterococci counts in these samples were low – ranging from zero to 7 colony forming units per 100 millilitres of water.

These results indicate that the water quality on these beaches, including Horseshoe Bay, was well within the standard at the time of sampling. Samples were collected again today by Environmental Health staff, and results from these samples will be available tomorrow. The results have now been posted on the Government portal.

Parks will perform further beach inspections as long as the weather pattern holds (forecast until the weekend). If members of the public spot greaseballs we ask that they contact Environmental Health at: 278-5333.

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Category: All, Environment, News

Comments (15)

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  1. Scotty says:

    Well done Minister and Ministry of Health and the Environment! You cannot be faulted for your approach to this issue. It is so important to keep the community informed. Possibly other Ministries will follow your lead.

    • Eye of Horus says:

      Did he inform Snorkel Park swimmers when the levels reached 79 last tuesday? That’s a tight space for that much bacteria to be in amongst swimmers.

      • check says:

        You do relieve that it is 79 cfu per 100ml of water, so with there being over 100 ml of water. The tight space may be “why” it was that level but 79 there is not any worse than 79/100ml at any “less tight” location.

        it would appear you are looking for something to gripe about. Seeing as single day samples should be under 104/100ml (refer to the link you provided), with not more than 10% of samples being over 130cfu/100ml.

        Now if you have an issue with the thresholds themselves then maybe you should rally about that.

        Do you have any solutions?

        Because like everyone knows, complaining about an issue without proposing any solutions is called “whining”

        • OKAYMAN says:

          I think if you look at the US and Europe you will see that their acceptability ratings are much lower than 104/100ml

          • OKAYMAN says:

            Aha Yes I have just checked one of Trevor Moniz’s earlier press releases which says that the acceptable rate is 35/100.

  2. Nicky Gurret says:

    Well done to the Parks Department and the Health Department!

    • OKAYMAN says:

      Oh if only the hadn’t cleaned the beaches early in the morning. High tide was at 8:30 am so it would have made more sense to clean the beaches at 11:30ish as the tide was going out and leaving the excrement.

  3. Rhonda Neil says:

    All is fine, the level are not that high, but if you see any shite balls as you swim, just don’t worry…we’ll test the water later…

  4. nuffin but the truth says:

    All MP’s are full of greaseballs!

  5. Common Sense says:

    Let me get this straight! Water samples are being taken from numerous public beaches and the results are not only provided to the public through the medianbut are also posted on Government’s website. This sounds very unfamiliar! Does it mean that our present Government is acting with openness transparency ? It might take us a little while longer to get used to this novel idea but stick with it OBA. But let future Governments be warned. Honesty and transparency can be addictive!

    • Coffee says:

      Anybody and everybody must be open and transparent with $&it that can’t be hidden , it’s natural . This isn’t an issue to beat your hairy chest over !

    • OKAYMAN says:

      Hi Commensense. Could you tell me where I can find these reports on the gov website? I just want to be able to get quick access.

  6. Transparency is importnat. Fixing the problem permanently is equally so. What’s the time line for a permanent solution?

  7. HEY DIS BIE HERE says:

    God is trying to tell us something, we have “greaseballs” on the beach and we have em in the government

  8. Query says:

    Can anyone advise or provide a link to the water sample reports on the government website. I did a quick look at the Bermuda Dept of Health and was not able to find the stats.