Communications Manager at the National Water Commission (NWC) Charles Buchanan has said that ground will be broken early next week for the Soapberry Wastewater Project in St. Catherine. Preliminary work on the multi-million dollar project began late last year.
The project will involve the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant to improve the management of wastewater in sections of Kingston and St. Andrew. Conveyance facilities will also be constructed to transfer wastewater to the new plant. When completed, the new facility will be capable of treating close to 20 million gallons of sewage per day. Mr. Buchanan told JIS News, that the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and the National Housing Trust (NHT), which are constructing the Inner city Housing Project, and a private developer, partnered with the NWC to initiate the first phase of the project.
“We indicated to them that the new houses could not be connected to the existing sewage system run by the NWC and. they prudently decided to partner with the NWC in a creative joint venture arrangement to develop the treatment plant,” he said.
He pointed out that the sewerage to be treated was generated in Kingston and other areas served by the existing central sewerage treatment facilities such as Greenwich plant. “What will happen is that we will now divert the flows from those primary treatment plants, convert those facilities into pumping stations and deliver the sewage to Soapberry where there will be a series of facultated ponds similar to those which exist in Montego Bay, Greater Portmore, Negril and a few other locations islandwide,” he informed.
Mr. Buchanan stressed that the treatment methods would be up to the standards demanded by the National Environment and Planning and Agency (NEPA) and other international agencies, and assured that that it would greatly reduce the pollution of the Kingston Harbour caused by inadequately treated wastewater following into the harbour. “It would also provide a more modern collection point and treatment facility for the Kingston Metropolitan Region and form the base for other future phases,” Mr. Buchanan stated.
The UDC will be the lead agency in the construction and project management while the NWC is expected to be the primary agency for management and operation of the completed plant. Mr. Buchanan also pointed out that the NWC would be willing to collaborate with any entrepreneur, who wanted to creatively use the treated effluent for a biogas project, pointing out that the company had already collaborated with the Jamaica Public Service in using treated effluent from the Montego Bay sewerage ponds as part of cooling down operations at a JPS facility. Wastewater has in the past been used for irrigation purposes.