Feature
President of the National Water Commission (NWC), Mark Barnett.
Photo: Rudranath Fraser

Story Highlights

  • More communities across the island are benefiting from improved sewerage service, as the Government moves to build, replace or decommission facilities serving these areas.
  • Over the last 12 months, the National Water Commission (NWC) has completed a number of projects aimed at fulfilling this mandate, including the construction and rehabilitation of three waste-water treatment facilities at a cost of $1.62 billion.
  • “We have completed the reconstruction of two waste-water treatment facilities at Elletson Flats in St. Andrew, and at Boscobel in St. Mary. Those two facilities were completed at a value of $620 million,” President of the NWC, Mark Barnett, tells JIS News in an interview.

More communities across the island are benefiting from improved sewerage service, as the Government moves to build, replace or decommission facilities serving these areas.

Over the last 12 months, the National Water Commission (NWC) has completed a number of projects aimed at fulfilling this mandate, including the construction and rehabilitation of three waste-water treatment facilities at a cost of $1.62 billion.

“We have completed the reconstruction of two waste-water treatment facilities at Elletson Flats in St. Andrew, and at Boscobel in St. Mary. Those two facilities were completed at a value of $620 million,” President of the NWC, Mark Barnett, tells JIS News in an interview.

He also informs that the Port Antonio waste-water treatment plant in Portland was completed at a cost of $1.1 billion, “to support and improve waste disposal within that township”.

The President says the entity will also be pursuing a number of sewerage treatment plant rehabilitation activities, including decommissioning, which should be completed in the next month or two.

“We will be decommissioning the Hughenden waste-water treatment plant in St. Andrew and direct those flows to Soapberry (treatment plant) in St. Catherine through a series of pipelines which have been put in place,” he notes.

In addition, the Acadia, Bay Farm Villas, Grove Manor and White Hall Avenue waste-water treatment plants in St. Andrew are also being decommissioned and those flows will also be redirected to the Soapberry treatment plant.

“What we are doing is enhancing communities and improving aesthetics by removing those sewerage treatment facilities, which would have been constructed some years ago to support housing developments at the time. So, based on how the city has expanded, it is prime time to remove those facilities from within the central (part) of those communities,” he explains.

The aim, Mr. Barnett says, is to reduce the number of treatment plants within the Corporate Area to zero.

In the meantime, the NWC President informs that the sewerage system in Mona at University Crescent has been expanded and is predominantly geared towards complementing housing stock, particularly apartment development.

In addition, the NWC has completed sewerage systems just off Hope Road. Mr. Barnett says the decision was taken to improve these structures as there are many businesses in that area.

“We believe there is opportunity for expansion and we want to be able to be in there first, putting in our systems so we can encourage that level of expansion,” Mr. Barnett tells JIS News.

He says the NWC has also collaborated with a developer to expand its sewage-collection system along Charlemont Drive in the vicinity of Hope Pastures in St. Andrew, noting that there are plans for further collaboration with other developers.

Further, the NWC is now advanced in finalising a contract for construction of a new sewerage treatment plant at Horizon Park in St. Catherine, which would entail redirecting flows from the Tawes Pen waste-water treatment plant.

“Tawes Pen has suffered significantly from years of poor sewage disposal within the vicinity of the community, so we took a decision to move that out to a treatment plant, and the need for rehabilitating the treatment plant is not lost on us and we are actively pursuing that activity,” he assures.

The NWC is the primary provider of waste-water or sewerage services in Jamaica and collects waste water from more than 700,000 persons across the island. The entity operates nearly 100 waste-water treatment plants islandwide.

Central sewerage systems are located in Kingston and St. Andrew, Southeast St. Catherine (Portmore), Montego Bay in St. James, Ocho Rios in St. Ann, and Negril in Westmoreland.

In addition, the NWC has responsibility for small sewerage systems, which are associated with housing developments in various parts of the country.