Mon Repos residents want sewer problems fixed for good

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Cynthia Humphrey points to the water leaking out from backed-up sewerage which over spills in her yard on Smith Street, Mon Repos. – AYANNA KINSALE

An ongoing sewer problem in Mon Repos has been plaguing residents, who say they want a permanent solution.

Pensioner Cynthia Humphrey, 74, of Smith Street, said the lastest problem started two weeks ago, when water from a cesspit began overflowing in her yard and onto the pavement.

“The smell is terrible. When I come outside, it hurts my stomach to inhale it.

“Someone dug a small canal, so some of the water goes into it and leaves the yard.

“Sewer problems are regular on this street, but this time it is the worst,” Humphrey said. “I went to a Mother’s Day celebration in Duncan Village, and I felt as if I was still inhaling it there.”

She said she reported the issue to the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and San Fernando City Corporation (SFCC).

In the meantime, she said, “I try to keep the scent down by constantly spraying inside with Lysol and cleaning with disinfectants.

“This is an old HDC area, so people do not have their own cesspits. They are all connected. Everyone is fed up and wants the problem fixed.”

Councillor for Mon Repos/Navet Nigel Couttier said he was aware of the issue, adding that the area has an aging sewer infrastructure. The overall system has clay lines, and the councillor said he has been trying to give temporary ease to affected constituents.

“Every week since I came into office, I am dealing with situation like hers in which the clay lines have collapsed. The entire system needs to be upgraded,” Couttier said.

“On Saturday, I went with a team of volunteers and washed and disinfected her yard.

“That is just a temporary fix. What needs to be done is the lines need to be repaired. HDC says they are sending out tenders, which might take a few weeks.”

Apart from HDC, Couttier said he also reported the problem to the public health department of the SFCC.

“It is a bit frustrating. It is hard for people to be going through situations like these, and some people seem to be dragging their feet,” Couttier said.

Calls to HDC went unanswered.