Beetham water woes fixed but sewage, smell persist

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Two leaks from one of WASA’s water main pipelines in Beetham Gardens, near the priority bus route, on June 25. – Photo by Faith Ayoung

TWO leaks in a 24-inch water main in Beetham Gardens have been repaired, Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) assistant corporate communications manager Gregory Roxborough said on June 26.

Speaking with Newsday on June 26, one resident joyfully exclaimed, “I could finally bathe properly now!”

The repair comes after two leaks were identified in a main on the eastbound lane of the Priority Bus Route. The leak had left many homes in Beetham without a water supply.

When Newsday spoke to residents on June 25, one disgruntled resident said, “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.”

While residents said they were overjoyed to finally have water running through their pipes again, they lamented the ongoing ammonia stench.

“I don’t know what’s worse, the smell in the air or the smell in the drain. You just want to vomit, and you can’t tell which is causing it.”

The ammonia problem began on June 21, when eight employees from the Coconut Growers’ Association (CGA) in Laventille were hospitalised after a chemical leak from the company’s refrigeration system. The CGA, other businesses and schools near Success Laventille had to close early.

Compounding this was the continued sewage issue.

Residents say the rainy season has not been kind to them as a result.

“Garbage has been coming into our house. All kinds of KFC box and beer bottle people throwing on the side of the road ending up in our house when it rains and the place starts flooding.”

The resident said they had been unable to contact their representatives.

“We don’t have anyone we could turn to for this. No one cares about us once they hear we from the Beetham.”

On May 2, they protested to highlight the ongoing issue of sewage lines leaking and overflowing onto the roads and into homes.

President of the Beetham Gardens community council Joel Lee said, “For the last seven years, we’ve been experiencing sewer problems, without anyone from the relevant authorities coming to resolve the problem and it has gotten worse.

Residents from Beetham Gardens hold up placards during an early-morning protest on May 2 over leaking sewer lines. – Photo by Enrique Rupert

“There’s a burst sewer line below the bridge (that separates Phase One and Two) and near to the houses. The scent is so ridiculous, children ended up in the hospital.

“We are looking to see our MP (Fitzgerald Hinds), the Minister of Health (Terrence Deyalsingh); we’ve been in contact with the Minister of Public Utilities, Marvin Gonzales, and he assured us that he’ll be there next week.”

At the protest, Andrew Joseph, a resident since 1974 said the issue has got progressively worse.

“This never used to happen in Phase Four. Now it seems like the back-up of sewage is spreading. Things looking real messy right now.

“We are asking those in authority, WASA – the main problem, we need you all to solve it.”