JIS News

The government will be undertaking a major overhaul of sewage lines in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) and areas of St. Catherine, with first-phase work to begin after the commissioning of the Soapberry wastewater treatment plant next January.
Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, who made the disclosure following a tour of the plant recently, said the project is aimed at reducing the amount of sewage going into the underground water pools and the Kingston Harbour.
He noted that the works, while important, will cause some inconvenience for the public adding that “we intend to meet with the management of the National Water Commission (NWC) to examine ways to mitigate the problem.” He also noted that discussion will be held with the National Works Agency (NWA) “to ensure that there is proper signage and notices” to sensitise the public about the project. Explaining further, President of the NWC, E.G Hunter told JIS News that the project, which is expected to cost a significant sum, is a necessary part of the Soapberry project and will be undertaken over a 10-year period.
“We will orchestrate the operations as best as we can, as efficiently as we can and in concert with our partners the NWA and the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC). We will try and ameliorate the difficulties that will inevitably arise,” he stated. He informed that “consultations will be carried out with the KSAC, the Portmore Municipal Council and St. Catherine Parish Council long before anything starts, to ensure a smooth execution of the works to be carried out”. “In fact, on an allied project, the KMA water supply project, which is being undertaken in St. Catherine, we are scheduled to do a presentation to the St. Catherine Parish Council because we will have some impact on the roads in Spanish Town. So that’s part and parcel of the Commission’s strategy to talk to everybody to get a buy-in on what we are trying to do,” he said.
The last time a comprehensive sewage project was undertaken in the KMA was in 1985, when the Washington Gardens and Patrick City housing projects were developed.
In the meantime, Minister Chang said that the government will be looking at making connection to the sewage system mandatory. He said it will make economic sense for the property owners to be connected “because once it is in the area they will have to pay anyway”.