NEPA says Hopewell beach is okay
Despite the concerns of users of the Orchard Beach in Hopewell, Hanover, who have been raising concerns about possible water contamination from waste flowing from nearby shacks, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) says the water quality is of an acceptable standard.
In May, residents of Hopewell wrote to the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC), complaining about a foul smell emanating from the water in proximity to the shacks. It was subsequently discussed at the HMC's Physical Planning and Environment Committee meeting.
The corporation, which is in the process of taking legal action against the owners of the shacks, asked the NEPA representative to do a water sample testing in the area, as previous checks by the Hanover Health Department had identified waste water flowing from the shacks, which are being used as restaurants and bars.
However, when the matter came up at last Tuesday's meeting of the Physical Planning and Environment Committee, Tamara Woodit, the enforcement inspector from NEPA, said the requested checks were done and that a formal report would be submitted to the corporation. However, she gave an insight into her findings.
DISCHARGE OF SOAPY WASTE WATER
"Basically, we did three sample points, the only parameters that were exceeded were nitrates and phosphates," said Woodit. "The feacal coliform that we had concerns about is within the range of the ambient marine water standards."
Woodit, nonetheless, noted that the discharge of soapy waste water from the shacks could have led to the increase in the nitrates and phosphates detected in the sampling done in the area.
"So you are saying that it is safe for anyone to swim in the water in the area?" asked Lucea mayor, Councillor Sheridan Samuels, in seeking to assure if NEPA was giving the all clear for the use of the beach.
"The samples reflect that," explained Woodit, who promised that the formal report would soon be sent to the HMC.
Despite the NEPA findings, residents of Hopewell are still unhappy with the situation and are even questioning the way the sampling was done, and the time frame in which it was done.
"The sampling needs to be done when there is a high tide in the area, or immediately after a rough sea period, as that is when all sorts of foreign matter can be seen in the water, and the water smells bad," a resident told The Gleaner.