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Earth Today | Basic Needs Trust Fund finances novel wastewater project in Grenada

Published:Thursday | March 23, 2023 | 1:03 AM
BNTF portfolio manager George Yearwood listens keenly to farmer Alrich Matthew during a recent site visit to the Princess Alice Hospital in Grenada.
BNTF portfolio manager George Yearwood listens keenly to farmer Alrich Matthew during a recent site visit to the Princess Alice Hospital in Grenada.

THE PRINCESS Alice Hospital in Mirabeau, St Andrew’s, Grenada, is to receive a US$400,000-Wastewater Treatment and Recycling Plant featuring an innovative system that uses recycled glass instead of sand.

The system is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).

“The proposed system has a combination of technologies that will deliver high-quality water treatment with minimal electricity and operation and maintenance requirements,” said George Yearwood, BNTF portfolio manager.

The project will be executed by BNTF in collaboration with the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), the National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness over a 36-month period.

The BNTF is CDB’s flagship poverty reduction programme – working in nine Caribbean countries to respond to the needs of vulnerable communities in the priority areas of water and sanitation, education and livelihoods enhancement, and infrastructural improvements.

The pilot project will install a very low-energy proprietary packaged-type wastewater treatment plant. The filtration system will effectively self-clean the media without human intervention and minimal electricity, which makes it ideal for rural areas. The treatment plant uses activated crushed glass from recycled glass bottles and containers that will transform the wastewater from the hospital into a usable state.

“The recycled wastewater can be used for irrigation year-round by the nearby farmers. This is especially needed during the dry season,” explained Dr Lindonne Telesford, WINDREF research fellow and project coordinator.

The project is expected to increase agricultural production by men and women beneficiary farmers by 15 per cent during each dry season; see a five per cent increase in income for men and women farmers annually; increase treatment of wastewater at Princess Alice Hospital by 75 per cent; and improve access to treated recycled water for 15 community properties.

“I was happy to see when we visited that the area for the system has been identified and the stakeholders are on board – the hospital administrators NAWASA and the farmers alike,” noted Yearwood, who was part of the CDB’s delegation that visited Grenada in February.

“This initiative will be very handy for us,” said Alrich Matthew, a farmer who has farmed in the area for over 23 years.

“We do not have enough water to survive efficiently all year. So, we greatly appreciate this project, and we pray it comes on stream as fast as possible,” he added.

The project will also implement a gender responsive education and awareness campaign to bolster support for and build community participation around the pilot. It is expected that NAWASA will maintain the treatment plant after the project is completed.