News

Riverton Meadows plagued by raw sewage

BY SUZETTE BONAS Sunday Observer writer bonass@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, July 20, 2014    

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RESIDENTS of Riverton Meadows in western St Andrew say they have been paying up to $9,000 bimonthly to clear their sewer systems.

However, at that rate, many people have been unable to regularly clean their units, resulting in raw sewage seeping onto their properties, overflowing into the streets and settling in potholes.

"Every two to three weeks each one of these yards has sewage that overflows onto the road," resident Owen Moore told the Jamaica Observer.

Robert Harris, another resident, said that they are left to put together the money themselves to pay for the sewerage-emptying process.

Though there are many squatter settlements in Riverton Meadows, the houses that were built under Operation PRIDE — the Government's housing programme for poor Jamaicans — do not have proper drainage systems. The underground drains are only built for rainwater run-off.

As such, the untreated sewage flows along the edge of their driveways, posing a health risk to the residents, many of whom are children.

The residents said their plight has been ignored by both their member of parliament, Anthony Hylton, and councillor of the Seaview Gardens Division in the Kingston & St Andrew Corporation Hazel Anderson, who, coincidentally, lives in Riverton Meadows.

Anderson actually drove by while the Sunday Observer team was interviewing residents.

According to Moore, the community had been connected to a lift station nearby but since it was condemned a few years ago, no move has been made to supply them with another facility, leaving the residents to fend for themselves.

Harris said he was told by both the National Works Agency and the National Water Commission (NWC) that neither entity could provide sewage services to the community because it was not registered.

When the Sunday Observer contacted the NWC's Public Relations Manager Charles Buchanan for a comment he asked the newspaper to call him back as he was about to do a radio interview. However, several calls to his cellular phone later went unanswered.

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