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Get it right this time - Residents urge NWC to fix North Street sewerage system once and for all

Published:Sunday | January 24, 2016 | 12:00 AM
In this February 2015 photo, 93-year-old Marcelina Stephenson, points to sewage running in her yard at 10 North Street.
Workmen assessing what next to be done on the North Street sewage project last Monday.

The almost month-long closure of North Street between East Street and Central Avenue was a major inconvenience for residents, persons who work at the many businesses in the area and the many motorists who travel along that usually busy stretch in downtown Kingston.

The road was partially reopened last Friday and residents say the dislocation was a price worth paying if it means that the frequent sewage problems will finally be a thing of the past.

"All the time the stinking water come up inna my yard and me hope this fix it," said one resident who, last year, pointed our news team to the stagnant sewage water in a property on North Street.

The residents note that a similar repair to the sewage main was done just before the Cricket World Cup was held in the Caribbean in 2007 and again in 2011.

At the start of the work in 2011, the National Water Commission (NWC) announced that it would have to repair the sewer line, which had been causing an overflow of waste water into the Barnes Gully.

At that time, the NWC said it found that the blockage which was causing the overflow could not be removed in the traditional way, but would involve excavating a trench 5-6 metres deep to facilitate the replacement and laying of approximately 180-280 metres of the 30-inch rectangular sewer main along North Street.

That work was also expected to involve an extension of the replacement sewer to accommodate an additional blocked segment, in addition to realignment of the proposed route to avoid conflict with a large-diameter water main in the same vicinity.




But less than four years later, the problem returned with raw sewage flowing on North Street in the vicinity of St Georges' College.

This time, the NWC says the work is aimed at correcting a fault to a section of the nearly 100-year-old sewer main along a section of North Street.

According to the NWC, the emergency work forms part of the effort to improve sewage conveyance in the Corporate Area, in order to reduce overflows and other inconveniences, as well as to satisfy a National Environment and Planning Agency enforcement order.

The work is scheduled to end this week.

"I just hope them get it right this time. We can't go through this again," said one resident whose roadside stall has seen a sharp decline in business since the work started.