The Royal Gazette reported the presence of sewage balls on Grape Bay on July 2. The ministry says that report has yet to be verified. The results of water testing performed yesterday will be posted on the government website today.

Earlier this year, U.S. Consulate General Robert Settje warned American tourists Bermuda's waters could be unsafe and American beachgoers should consider immunization against diseases such as Hepatitis A and typhoid.

Entertainer and tourism advocate Tony Brannon said: "The government didn't act and that's why the [US Consulate] warning was issued," he said. "It's something that hasn't been dealt with for many years. We've got more waste than ever before."

Greenrock said more sewage balls washing up ashore would be disconcerting: "It illustrates that our sewage management needs significant improvement," said Gordon Johnson, its executive director. "..We get the sense that Government is trying to address this issue although to what degree and with what urgency is unclear. They are not communicating their efforts in as timely a manner as we would hope."

Stuart Hayward of BEST said the globules of sewage waste that wash ashore are a minute portion of the waste actually discharged into the ocean: "The number of outfalls that used to discharge human waste into the ocean have been severely curtailed and the capacity of full-treatment plants has increased markedly," he said. But he adds that all discharge from the ocean outfalls should be fully treated, something that is currently not happening.

Shore pollution is a problem throughout the world. In the US, about 10 per cent of the beaches failed a federal health standard.

Mr Settje told us through a statement yesterday: "We have never hidden the fact that the United States has polluted beaches — or a whole host of other environmental and social problems."

He added: "The issue is not whether such problems exist, but rather whether the responsible government agencies act to notify the public and (hopefully) resolve the problems. We had a responsibility to advise the American public of the situation in Bermuda, and we did so. If Bermudians have a concern about US beaches or other issues in the US, they should urge their representatives to take the steps they believe appropriate to protect their citizens."

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