Ground was broken on Thursday February 23, for construction of the Darling Street Wastewater Pumping Station, which will improve the sewerage system serving sections of downtown Kingston and St. Andrew.
The facility, which is scheduled for completion within 18 months, will cost $500 million and is expected to significantly enhance sewage collection in sections of the nation’s capital.
On completion, flows from the facility will connect to the station at Greenwich and transferred to the Soapberry Wastewater Treatment Plant in St. Catherine. It is projected to collect and convey 612 litres of wastewater per second, and is designed to meet the population demands up to the year 2030.
Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, who spoke at the event, said the facility is expected to solve many of the sewage problems in downtown Kingston.
He emphasised that the proper collection and treatment of sewage has several environmental benefits, including the protection of groundwater; and more efficient use of land spaces.
The Minister said that improved wastewater management is important for protection from waterborne diseases, such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery, which may develop from contact with untreated sewage.
“If this waste is not collected, treated and properly disposed of, it may result in widespread illness, and sometimes even death,” he added.
Mr. Pickersgill further noted that proper wastewater management is also critical to the facilitation of economic development, as property values will increase resulting in improved quality of life.
For his part, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Representative, Ancille Brewster, said construction of the facility seeks to tackle the problem of wastewater treatment, adding that the Darling Street Wastewater Pumping Station is a pivotal link to the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater in the Kingston Metropolitan Area.
In his remarks, Member of Parliament for West Kingston, Desmond McKenzie, said with the planned redevelopment of Kingston, an effective and modern sewage treatment system is critical to attract investment in the area.
“This will also improve the conditions of the households in the area, because in certain sections of the community, at least six out of every 10 homes is affected by poor sewage disposal,” he added.
The scope of the work will include: construction of a wastewater ‘A’ collecting chamber of nine metres deep; a wet wall for five submersible pumps and fittings; a valve chamber for check valves and gate valves; a pressure main and a flow meter located in a small chamber; a building for the switch gear and standby power generator; a surge suppression system (surge tank); rehabilitation of the existing administrative building; landscaping, drainage, lighting and fencing.
The pumping station will cover a major part of the downtown area of Kingston and St. Andrew, spanning 23 demographic areas and serving a population of 115,642 persons.
Inflows will be sent from 17 areas in Kingston, including: Campbell Town, Franklin Town, Tivoli Gardens, West Downtown, Central Downtown, East Downtown, Passmore Town, Newton Square, Rollington Town, Norman Gardens, Johnson Town, South Side, Rae Town, Manley Meadows, Bournemouth Gardens, Springfield and Rennock Lodge.
Wastewater will also be collected from areas in St. Andrew, including : Woodford Park, Stadium Gardens, Nannyville, Mountain View Gardens, Hermitage and Vineyard Town.
The project is being funded by the IDB and the ‘K’ Factor Funds of the National Water Commission (NWC). The original pumping station was constructed in 1893.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter