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NWC and NCB sign loan agreement for sewage upgrades

Published:Friday | August 14, 2015 | 2:39 PM

The National Water Commission (NWC) and the National Commercial Bank have signed a US$12 million loan agreement to finance the rebuilding, rehabilitation or replacement of several waste water treatment facilities across the island.

The financing facility is being supported under the Caribbean Regional Fund for Waste Water Management (CReW) Project, which involves the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the governments of some other Caribbean countries.

The IDB is providing an additional US$ 3 million in grant funding to facilitate potential commercial bank loans to the NWC for implementing wastewater improvement projects.

At the signing of the loan facility at the NCB's Wellness and Recreation Centre in Kingston on Wednesday, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Robert Pickersgill, welcomed the undertaking.

He noted that the four-year CReW project aims to "provide sustainable financing for the wastewater sector, support policy and legislative reform and foster regional dialogue and knowledge exchange among key stakeholders in the wider Caribbean."

He said in the initial stage, the financing mechanism would be used to provide all the required works and services necessary to implement eight projects, which will see the rehabilitation, replacement, or decommissioning of the existing wastewater facilities or the construction of new facilities.

Acting president of the NWC, Mark Barnett, informed that the waste treatment plants in Boscobel, St Mary; and Elletson Flats in St Andrew would be rebuilt, while facilities at Arcadia, Bay Farm Villas and Hughenden in St Andrew, would be decommissioned and connected into the central sewer system.

He noted further that waste water systems in Dela Vega City, St Catherine; Blackwood Gardens, Kingston; and Lionel Town, Clarendon, would be rehabilitated.

Barnett said the project would facilitate improved wastewater treatment and allow the NWC to expand its sewer network, especially in Kingston.

"The facilities to be decommissioned in St Andrew will allow for more waste water to go to the Soapberry (treatment plant), which is offering a better treatment option, plus it will also improve NWC's internal operations by reducing our energy costs," Barnett said.

CReW aims to provide sustainable financing for the wastewater sector; support policy and legislative reform; and foster regional dialogue and knowledge exchange among key stakeholders in the wider Caribbean.