Beetham Gardens’ 2-week stink – Raw sewage flows along 24th Street

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The canal that separates phase one and two of Beetham Gardens filled with debris and sewer water. – Photo by Venessa Mohammed

FOR THE past two weeks, raw sewage has been flowing on 24th Street in Beetham Gardens, with some of it entering the yards and even homes of dozens of residents.

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) says this situation developed after a building was demolished and sewer lines were exposed.

It added that the end cap which secures the now exposed pipelines was not in place and this caused the overflow. The situation was also intensified by recent rainfall and increased storm water in the sewer system.

While this issue on 24th Street is two-weeks, residents claim sewage leaks have been a prevalent and ongoing issue for the last five years across Beetham Gardens.

Joel Lee, president of the Beetham Gardens community council said, “So far, all WASA did was pump out the water. That was last night and this morning (Tuesday). This ain’t going on now you know, this going on more than five years.”

Lee, several residents and welfare officer Anisha Warrick took Newsday on a tour of the area to see first-hand the effect the flowing sewage has on the residents’ quality of life.

A WASA truck in the Beetham Gardens which residents say is used to pump and take away the raw sewage that is flowing along 24th Street for the past two weeks. – Photo by Venessa Mohammed

A resident spoke on the issue.

“Since 2019 this sewer thing going on in the Beetham. It eased up for about two months and then we faced it for two, three years straight. All WASA does do is come and wash it down and that’s it.

“WASA find we was complaining too much, so they decide to come and look around. But when they did, information was that the project to repair these leaks was too expensive. So we are waiting.”

The resident said he has become accustomed to seeing raw faeces coating the yard to the front and back of his home. Even before Newsday reached 24th Street, the stench of faeces was tangible, nauseating and overbearing.

A resident from Phase One said, “I get flood out twice already. The last time I get flood out (in 2023) I didn’t get anything from the Government because I wasn’t home. But the first time I got back some stuff.”

Another resident who lives close to a massive canal separating Phase One and Phase Two, said she suffers from a range of health issues.

“The smell in the night does stifle me. It does leave me feeling nauseous and sick. When the rains fall, my yard does fill with this sewer water.

“There are five children in my house and it real harmful to them. It harmful to the children in the area. Sometimes a ball does go in the canal water and they does go for it and then touch their skin after, rub their eyes…they can sick easily,” the female resident said.

Rubbish fills this drain which flows into the canal in Beetham Gardens. – Photo by Venessa Mohammed

Lee said members of the community council have been working with councillors in the area but he claimed the community’s MP has been noticeably absent.

“The representative for the community, we not seeing him. The Member of Parliament who is the Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds, we are not seeing him or hearing from him either,” Lee said.

When contacted, Hinds told Newsday: “Have you contacted WASA? Then content yourself with what WASA would’ve had to say!

“That is a very highly technical kind of business and as MP, I can only depend on WASA, working along with the people and I’m aware WASA has been to the area and has expended millions of dollars dealing with the sewage system in the Beetham over the years.”

Hinds said he was only made aware of the situation on 24th Street on April 29.

“I was in the Beetham on Sunday but not at that particular location. I only heard about it on Monday. But I was in the Beetham on Sunday. Tell your editors to write that. I was in the Beetham on Sunday; I spent hours in the Beetham.”

A pipe above the rubbish-filled canal in Beetham Gardens. – Photo by Venessa Mohammed

For Lee, he just wants residents of the Beetham to be treated fairly.

“We are humans as well. Don’t matter where we reside. We are residing here because it’s here we can afford to live. We know it’s because of the area we live in that we are being neglected. If this was Westmoorings, Trincity or Valsayn, these issues would be resolved long time.”

WASA said it will continue to conduct “pump down activity” to reduce overflows while the authorities associated with the property make the necessary arrangements to properly cap the exposed pipeline.