Beetham residents protest water crisis, ammonia stench

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Gallons of precious water goes to waste near the priority bus route in the Beetham Gardens on June 25. Residents told Newsday they reported the leak from one of WASA’s main water pipelines to the authority but it had not been repaired as of yesterday evening. – Photo by Faith Ayoung

BEETHAM residents are raising alarms over an ammonia stench that has left many feeling ill.

The problem began on June 21 when employees at the Coconut Growers Association (CGA) in Laventille identified a chemical leak coming from company’s refrigeration system.

Eight employees were hospitalised as a result.

CGA, Success Laventille RC School and other businesses were forced to close early.

The leak and subsequent response caused bumper-to-bumper traffic along the Priority Bus Route and Beetham Highway as fire officers and police shut down the immediate area.

Speaking with Newsday on June 25, one resident who preferred to remain anonymous said the stench is making the community feel unwell.

Compounding their distress, Beetham Gardens has also been dealing with ongoing water and sewage issues for months.

A closer look at the leaking WASA water main. – Faith Ayoung

Last month residents held a peaceful demonstration to highlight the ongoing issue of sewer lines leaking and overflowing onto the roads and into people’s homes.

Meanwhile, two significant leaks in the Hollis 24-inch water main have left many homes without a reliable water supply.

“We are unable to get water to our houses and WASA trucks just drive by on the bus route, see the leak and do nothing about it,” one disgruntled resident said.

Residents says calls to the local councillor and member of Parliament have gone unanswered, adding to their frustration.

“We have to rely on a nearby standpipe and carry water by hand to provide for our families.

“When water does come through the pipes, it’s brown,” another resident shared.

Residents say children in the community have fallen ill from drinking the contaminated water and developed sores from bathing with it.

When Newsday contacted WASA on June 25, representatives responded saying they were previously unaware of the leaks but promised to address the issue.