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Inadequate sewerage networks add to property development costs

Published:Wednesday | May 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM
York Seaton, principal owner of Y.P. Seaton and Associates.

Developers of property on Constant Spring Road often have to install their own sewerage infrastructure to make up for the lack of central system in that area, a cost that eventually seeps into the sale price of real estate.

Peter Knight, the chief executive of the National Environ-ment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and government town planner, said his agency's review of the Jamaica sewer line, operated by the National Water Commission (NWC), confirms that NWC's sewerage network extends part way up Constant Spring Road and ends at Mary Brown's Corner.

"The size of the sewer line in that area could not be readily verified but is definitely of a smaller bore than elsewhere in the network," said Knight.

The NEPA chief executive was responding to Wednesday Business queries that were based on public complaints by York Seaton of Y.P. Seaton and Associates.

Seaton said at the contract signing for a sewerage project unrelated to Constant Spring Road that the sewer main in some areas of St Andrew was a mere eight inches, causing delays to millions of dollars of development projects. His company will be building a sewerage system for the Caymanas Estate on behalf of the Urban Development Corporation, and Seaton used the signing to air his grievance about inadequate infrastructure elsewhere.

"I have a problem right at Constant Spring Road," he said. "As engineers, if we can't plan for 30 or 40 years, we are no damn good. The entire Constant Spring area is waiting for sewerage for development."

impact on investment

Knight said that it was difficult for NEPA to comment on the impact this has on investment potential or developments in the general area, so developers have been coming up with their own solutions.

"It is a fact that recently developed (and under development) commercial entities have had on-site sewage treatment systems approved," said the planning regulator, even while acknowledging that a more centralised network would be more efficient.

"Generally, as regulators, it is preferable to have the Corporate Area sewered to reduce the impact on groundwater and wells," he said.

A follow-up request by email to Seaton for projects affected by the limitations of the network in Constant Spring remains unanswered.

Acting president of the NWC Mark Barnett said on Monday that the water agency plans to extend the system from Dunrobin Avenue to Manor Park but added that the schedule for the project was still being finalised.