JIS News

Rehabilitation work on the Negril Wastewater Treatment Plant in Westmoreland is scheduled to start in January 2011, with a $278 million contract now in place for the project.
Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, made the announcement on Friday (November 12), at a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM) western office in Montego Bay.
He informed that the project is being financed through $243 million in grant funding from the European Union (EU), with the remaining $35 million to come from the Government of Jamaica through the National Water Commission (NWC).
Dr. Chang told journalists that the work, which will be carried out over an 18-month period, is to correct technical defects that have appeared since the plant, which is located in a peat bog, was constructed in 1999. He explained that the treatment ponds, which can take up to four million gallons of wastewater per day, are now sinking, causing “severe difficulties.”
“Major rehabilitation (is required) to ensure that the water quality coming from the treatment plant is acceptable because we have to ensure that we protect the environment in that way in terms of the effluent from the plant,” he stated.
The scope of the works to be carried out includes: raising the embankment of the ponds and installation of influent/effluent measurement devices; rehabilitation of the internal fabric lining the embankment and the perimeter fencing; connection of new inlet, interconnecting and outlet pipes at the treatment ponds; and procurement of a new evacuator jet track, spare parts and essential equipment.
Minister Chang noted that over the long-term, “we may actually have to relocate the ponds despite the cost, because we have to find a spot where this problem will not recur.”
“Maintaining the environment in Negril is a very critical part of the question of sustainable development; not because of the hotels and villas. The environment of Negril is what attracts visitors here and the wetlands are a very critical part of what constitutes the environment of Negril,” he pointed out.
He argued that any damage to the wetlands of Negril could lead to a falloff in the attractiveness of the venue and subsequently hurt entrepreneurs in the area.
The contractor for the project is M&M Jamaica Limited.

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