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Princeville Plaza could face shutdown

Messy affair - KSAC kicks up stink over sewer system

BY CLAUDIENNE EDWARDS Observer writer edwardsc@jamaicaobsever.com

Monday, June 23, 2014    

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A major stink is brewing between the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and the Princeville Plaza Strata over a problematic sewer system, which, the local government authority says, poses a public health hazard.

The KSAC Health Department says that it will be giving the strata a timeline to fix the sewerage problem or face shutdown because of public health concerns.

At Thursday's meeting of the Disaster Preparedness Public Health Committee, Councillor Neville Wright (PNP, Trench Town Division) said that a definitive plan was needed to conclude the Princeville Plaza issue that was creating a serious public health problem.

He said that the issue had been floating between the KSAC's Building and Town Planning Committee and the Public Health Department and needed to be settled.

Another PNP councillor, Kevin Taylor (Duhaney Park Division), reminded his colleagues that City Engineer Norman Shand — who had been asked to clarify the issue some time ago — was yet to attend the committee meeting.

Everton Baker, the chief public health inspector, outlined to the meeting the background to the Princeville Plaza issue. He said that because the sewerage system at the plaza was at a location below Constant Spring Road, it was unable to collect all the sewage at the plaza. He said that the problem was exacerbated by grease from restaurants in the plaza which is also entering the sewerage system and causing it to overflow into the nearby Retreat Avenue community. He said that the problem had been affecting that community for more than six years.

Baker said that the health department had been working with the strata and had asked its representatives to clear the sewer system periodically as a "stop gap" measure.

"We were working with them, but we were not getting anywhere, so more than a year ago we threatened to close it down," he said.

"The area is sewered, but to get Princeville onto the Constant Spring Road sewerage system would cost millions of dollars," Baker explained.

As an alternative plan that would be cheaper, the health department had agreed for the strata to lay the pipes in a nearby lane and channel the sewage through the pipes into the Constant Spring Road sewerage system.

"However, there is still a lot of back and forth between the strata and the National Water Commission. If they can't get it sorted out, the Public Health Department will have to close it. We are going to act decisively. We are going to write the operators of Princeville and give them a time line after which we will act," Baker said.

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