Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Falmouth hit by raw sewage problem

Published:Saturday | March 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMLeon Jackson

Western Bureau:

The town of Falmouth in Trelawny could be courting a health crisis as raw sewage is reportedly flowing from a plaza known as The Humphrey Building located on Harbour Lane, which is fairly close to the town centre.

When The Gleaner spoke to Andrea Humphrey, who owns the plaza which accommodates six businesses including a Supermarket, she said the problem started six years ago, following the works done to accommodate the Historic Falmouth cruise ship pier.

"We have owned the building for 33 years and it is only since the advent of the pier that the problem has started," said Humphrey. "When we have large ships docking, it causes the tide to rise and the excess water flows into the system and causes an overflow."

According to Humphrey, she recognised from quite early in the preparatory work on the pier that there was going to be a problem and it was brought to the attention of the Port Authority of Jamaica, which developed the pier.

"We knew there was going to be a problem and this was discussed with the Port Authority. They promised to link our system to theirs, but it turned out to be just promises," she informed.


Financial burden


The problem has become a major burden to Humphrey as, according to her, it costs her $27,000 each time the cesspool emptier comes, and sometimes they come twice in one week.

When Dr Diahann Dale, the medical officer of health (MOH) for Trelawny, was contacted about the situation, she not only acknowledged that she was aware of what was happening, but also stated that her officers had previously closed the location.

"It cannot continue," said Dale. "Our officers have closed the establishment on occasions, but it is clear that a permanent fix is needed."

Like the MOH, Falmouth's mayor, Councillor Colin Gager, is very unhappy with the situation, saying it has been a long-standing problem which dates back to his first stint as mayor some six years ago.

"Now that I am back, I will put things in place to remedy the problem. People should not be exposed to all that germs," said Gager. "I am definitely going to do something about it."

Humphrey said she was willing to contribute to whatever plan is developed to tackle and rectify the problem, saying it probably would cost her less over time.