WASA warns of unsafe truck water

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

WASA site in Caroni. – File photo

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) is warning citizens to be wary of private water trucks which have been supplying customers with unsafe and untreated water in South Western Trinidad.

In a release on March 31, WASA said it received reports of private water trucks filling from the washout of the authority’s wellfields, particularly the Siparia, Scotts Road and Morne Diablo well fields.

“The authority wishes to advise that this activity is illegal and critically, the water taken from washouts is untreated and unsafe for potable use, without undergoing the necessary treatment process to remove harmful pathogens.

“Members of the public are therefore advised of the inherent health risks associated with purchasing truck-borne water from private water contractors,” it said.

The warning comes one week after Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales blew the lid on a multi-million dollar water- trucking racket in Morne Diablo.

The scheme involved private water trucks and an ex-WASA turncock— someone who opens and closes the supply off the mains.

It is alleged the parties were deliberately locking off residents’ water. They would then extract water from the Scotts Road well and charge the residents $300 to deliver a truckload.

Two weeks ago, the Penal Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC) convened an urgent statutory meeting after 28 communities and hundreds of residents within its burgess were experiencing water woes.

Chairman Gowtam Maharaj claimed the corporation had not received any of its $700,000 budget allocation for water trucking service.

In early March, three WASA employees were suspended after Kernahan Village residents protested, claiming they had not received a supply in almost three months.

Gonzales ordered an investigation and, if claims of a racket were found to be true, he promised: “Heads will roll.”

As a result of this recent development, the authority said it has ramped up security patrols at its wellfields and is reviewing the facilities’ security infrastructure.

It advised anyone who observes these practices or has information to call its security department at 662-2318.

It further advised that all authorised water delivery trucks have the authority’s logo and the service is freely available on request via its WASA services app, customer portal or by contacting the toll-free call centre at 800-4420/26.