Don't blame us, says NWC
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In reference to photographs and story carried on Page C4 of The Gleaner of Tuesday, May 5, 2015 titled 'Raw sewage still overflows', the National Water Commission (NWC) wishes to clear up some inaccuracies.
First, expansion and upgrading works carried out on the Darling Street Pumping Station are, in fact, complete and the system is operating efficiently as it transfers sewage to the 75,000 cubic metres/day wastewater treatment facility at Soapberry. The plant is, therefore, only able to dispose of the sewage that gets to it.
Second, the story made assumptions that the stagnant water in the downtown area is as a result of overflowing sewage. This is incorrect. Our own investigations revealed that the continued settling of water in the named locations is caused by blocked storm drains.
Third, the article placed the responsibility for the situation on the NWC, without first obtaining verification from the enterprise.
Even though challenged by a number of issues, the NWC has been dealing with the events of blocked sewers in the downtown area on an ongoing basis. Reports of a sewerage problem are dealt with expeditiously after receiving the report.
While lending assistance from time to time to the other agencies responsible for storm water drains, our primary role is the maintenance of the public sanitary sewers.
The NWC has stated on countless occasions that its sanitary sewers were not designed to carry large objects, which include household garbage, construction debris, pieces of old furniture, kitchen utensils, etc, which are frequently dumped into the sewers. Fats, oils and greases, particularly from commercial operations, are also improperly discharged into the sewers.
In view of the above, the NWC craves the cooperation of the residents and businesses in the downtown community and, by extension, other sewered areas in the Corporate Area to:
1. Desist from throwing garbage, waste material and other solids into the sanitary sewers.
2. Desist from connecting storm water drains to the sewers or from opening or tampering with NWC or property manholes connected to the central sewers.
3. Desist from removing manhole covers and other parts of the infrastructure network.
4. Report any incident of persons removing or causing damage to the sewerage network to the police and the NWC.
We trust, in future, that the appropriate due diligence will be carried out prior to attributing blame to the NWC regarding stagnant water.
Corporate Public Relations Manager (Acting)
National Water Commission