Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Poor sewer system usage a drain on NWC

Published:Tuesday | December 27, 2016 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Charles Buchanan

The ongoing improper use of the sewerage system - which includes illegal dumping of solid and liquid waste not intended for disposal via this avenue - remains a major headache for the National Water Commission, says Charles Buchanan, the utility company's corporate public relations manager.

"It's a major issue for us because more than half of the instances of overflowing sewers and flooding from sewers occurs directly as a result of people putting in things that do not belong in the sewers. It is not only improper, but it's also illegal to discharge stuff into the sewers that don't belong in there. Unfortunately, it's difficult to police and the public buy-in is very difficult to get," Buchanan told The Gleaner.

"We have had a few instances in the past where we have utilised some of the provisions under our act and related acts that may allow for the prosecution of entities that you can prove they are the source of the discharge."

He added: "The issue very often is to be able to establish a provable case, a court provable case and not just a logically provable case, when you did not observe them doing it. So, other than instances when we catch persons in the act, which makes it relatively cut and dry, it becomes very difficult for us to make a legal case, but we have been able to do so in some instances and we will continue to do so whenever we can make that case."