Sludge, not sewage dumped on landfill

POND ISLAND–It was not sewage, but sludge sucked up from a drain in the Dutch Quarter/Belvedere area, that was dumped on the landfill by a septic truck on June 29, said Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Minister Christophe Emmanuel on Wednesday. What’s more, the driver “was working for Government.”

The contents of the truck were described as “sludge” – a mixture of dirt and an oily substance – pumped up from the drain. This material cannot be taken to the A.Th. Illidge Road sewage plant for treatment, said Emmanuel, because it would kill off the bacteria in sewage processing.

Emmanuel said the driver had been in his “legal right” to dump the sludge on the landfill, because this kind of material has a designated spot there. The spot has been in use for the past 20 years.

This is “not a practice to continue” and solutions are being sought for the dumping of sludge, Emmanuel said. At present, truck drivers pay a fee of NAf. 30 per truckload to enter the landfill.

The Minister called on people who have been harassing the driver to stop and to take into consideration that the driver was on a job for Government and was following the process for dumping sludge.

The harassment of the driver could result in the filing of a legal complaint if persons persist in this action, said Emmanuel, adding that he was “trying to solve” the situation before any litigation commences. The truck company is seeking an apology from the people who have shared the video. However, the Minister said an apology was necessary from the responsible authority – Government ­– and he intends to render one to the company.

The “assumption” about the dumping of sewage stemmed from a video of the truck on the landfill that was brought to the attention of Nature Foundation, an environmental watchdog. Its press statement, issued on June 29, said: “Based on the video of the event, it is clear that sewage was being illegally dumped and the septic truck in question was doing so despite objections from witnesses to the event.”

The Foundation has sent letters of protest to VROMI, the Ministry of Public Health and the Prosecutor’s Office about the incident of which a video was posted online and shared numerous times.

Meanwhile, on tackling the landfill, Emmanuel said a memorandum of understanding is in the offing with a company to develop a waste-to-energy system for the country. The company will first develop a strategy to tackle the burgeoning garbage situation and will review a concession for a power (electricity) purchase agreement.

Source: The Daily Herald