THE Kingston and St Andrew Health Department yesterday warned the homeowners' association of the Darlington Court Apartments in St Andrew to fix a sewerage problem that has been affecting residents of the nearby Dorsetshire Avenue for several years.
At least 20 apartments have been constructed on the property that originally had a single home more than 40 years ago, but the septic pit, according to the health department, was not upgraded to take the additional load, causing an overflow of raw sewage. The latest overflow has been running along Dorsetshire Avenue weeks before Christmas, which residents said have made life unbearable for them.
Yesterday, Public Health Inspector Wickham Smith visited the apartment complex and warned President of the Homeowners' Association Samuel Marshall to have the pit emptied and ensure that the raw effluent that is running onto the streets was no longer bothering the residents of Dorsetshire Avenue.
"I gave him a verbal warning and we will be serving him with a notice to fix the problem tomorrow (today)," Smith told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
When the Observer visited the scene, a stream of green and brown fluid was seen flowing from a back wall of the apartment complex. The stream of effluent flowed past three homes.
The stench was unbearable.
At one point the effluent gathered in a pothole and on close inspection mosquito larvae were seen swirling around.
"This is totally unacceptable. We have begged them to fix the problem and our cries are falling upon deaf ears. We have lived in this community for over 40 years and never before has this befallen us. The sewage flows from that apartment about every six weeks. Something has to be done as our health is at risk," a resident who identified himself as Dalton Brown, said.
Another woman who resides in the house that lies beside the Darlington Court said the raw sewage flowed on her front lawn for years and she had to take action by digging a trench to lead the fluid out on the roadway.
"This is downright out of order. We were forced to tie plastic bags on our feet and leave our shoes on the verandah so as not to bring the contamination in our home. Several children live over here," the woman said.
Smith said Marshall had given him the assurance that another septic pit would soon be constructed to ease the burden on the other pit but that was of little consolation to the affected residents.
"How did the authorities pass that apartment? It is clearly a breach of the building code. We don't want promises, we only want to live in our community without the stench of filth and sewage running down the street. We need action, not talk, and we will be calling the authorities until that stinking problem is fixed once and for all," another resident said.
The residents also complain that a garbage skip that is placed outside the complex was a breeding ground and feeding site for rodents. "The rats are huge and they are not afraid of humans. We are suffering and have no alternative but to bring it to public attention," one resident said.