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Placencia is the focus of the University of South Florida’s research

According to TampayBay.com a University of South Florida professor and one of her doctoral candidates have helped a national park in Belize stop flushing away its coral reefs.  Graduate student Christine Prouty worked on a wastewater project with Dr. Maya Trotz, an associate professor in USF’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Their work centered on Laughing Bird Caye National Park, a 1.8-acre island off the coast of Placencia. Nearly 100 tourists a day visit the park while snorkeling and scuba diving the Belize Barrier Reef.  According to the articles, the park’s restroom facilities were connected to an inadequate septic system, in constant danger of overflowing. Septic tank runoff that escapes into seawater can result in an overgrowth of algae and destroy coral reefs. The reefs provide a home for a vast range of aquatic life and also protect coastal areas from wave damage. This issue was discovered in 2014 by Trotz and Prouty, who are using Placencia as a test subject for researching how coastal communities can beneficially use wastewater.