Large amount of Sewage from French-side Public Septic Tank Contaminating Dutch Side Waters

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation received an urgent request from a business owner at Captain Oliver’s Marina to asses a situation where significant sewage runoff from a large public septic tank has been entering into Oysterpond at an alarming rate since last week. The Nature Foundation responded to the request and documented the flow and also carried out water quality tests in order to directly determine the composition of the effluent entering Oysterpond.  Conserned business owners have stated that they have contacted the French Authorities repeatedly but up to now the problem has not yet been addressed. This is an on-going situation that directly effects the environment of the Dutch Side since currents carry the (confirmed) raw sewage directly into Sint Maarten Territory.


Based on the conducted water quality tests carried out at location it shows that there is significant sewage run-off from the public septic tank in the Captain Oliver’s area. Solid faecal matter and bits of used toilet paper were also seen entering into the pond. Although this area is on French St. Maarten the sewage directly enters into Oysterpond and through current movement spills out into the Dawn Beach area and can affect the bathing beach. Moreover; in the coral reefs along the eastern shore of the island, which lay downstream from Osyterpond and the effluent, an increase in sewage indicator algae has occurred which can significantly damage coral reefs. There has also been a rise of the algae within the Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area which may be the result of a large amount of sewage entering from this particular area in Oysterpond.


The Nature Foundation has communicated the findings to authorities from both sides of the island and is urging them to solve the matter urgently and expeditiously. It is estimated that up to fifty litres per day, if not more, of raw sewage is being entered into the Oysterpond area.