Fri | Sep 24, 2021

WINDALCO rejects blame for another Rio Cobre fish kill

Published:Wednesday | August 4, 2021 | 6:53 PM
WINDALCO: We do not accept liability for the fish kill; however, we are mindful of the importance of the river to residents in and around the affected areas of the Rio Cobre and have taken measures to restore normalcy to the river inclusive of the removal of dead fish.

The West Indies Alumina Company (WINDALCO) has rejected blame for a Rio Cobre fish kill as a result of an effluent spill from its holding plant on Sunday.

Fishermen who use the Rio Cobre in St Catherine say the effluent caused the kill.

The National Environment and Planning Agency has also reached a similar conclusion warning that charges are impending for WINDALCO.

READ: Charge looms for Windalco in Rio Cobre fish kill

But in a statement Wednesday, WINDALCO rejected blame.

"We do not accept liability for the fish kill; however, we are mindful of the importance of the river to residents in and around the affected areas of the Rio Cobre and have taken measures to restore normalcy to the river inclusive of the removal of dead fish," said a spokesperson in a statement.

According to WINDALCO, as a result of sustained heavy rains over the past week, there was a spill at its effluent holding pond.

"This affected areas in the vicinity of Byndloss and the Charlemont Foot Bridge," the spokesperson said, adding that several measures were implemented to minimize and control the discharge to the environment and to contain it in that area.

WINDALCO said the measures included:

  • Creating a berm to retard the flow of the effluent leaving the facility
  • Testing to ensure values were in line with the NRCA standards
  • Flushing of streams with fresh water at several locations; and
  • Maximizing efforts to curtail the effluent itself from the holding pond.

"Based on our monitoring data and the preventative measures we employed, we are confident that the spillage did not have any deleterious impact on the environment," said the WINDALCO spokesperson.

The company said within 30 minutes of the incident, it advised all the relevant authorities, including NEPA, the Water Resources Authority, the Ministry of Health and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute.

It also said it is continuing to monitor activities to ensure that environmental standards are maintained.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.