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Unanswered questions arise amid NRA illegal discharge revelation

Sand, sludge, and potentially toxic wastewater.

A Cayman 27 investigation yesterday revealed National Roads Authority vacuum trucks illegally dumping untreated well waste into wetlands along Linford Pierson Highway.

The Water Authority is charged with protecting and developing groundwater resources for Cayman’s present and future populations.

Water Resources Engineer Hendrick van Genderen told Cayman 27 if there is a ‘silver lining’ to yesterday’s revelation that the NRA is discharging this mixture of wastewater and solids.

It’s that there’s an extremely low likelihood that any contaminants in the well effluent are leaching into groundwater.

“It is a swamp area, and typically the swamps have a thick layer of peat at the bottom, with that peat does, it is almost in inpermeable layer, which means that water hardly moves in and out of it, so it is just sitting there on top of the surface at that particular location where we are looking at,” he said.

Mr. van Genderen said while the sand, sludge, and wastewater pumped from these drainage wells can be potentially toxic, that isn’t necessarily the case. He said depending on their location and what’s gone into the well, each tank load of black water could have very different concentrations of toxic contaminants.

“We can do some basic testing there, I would look at the nutrients for instants because that is what impacts the surface water and what not, but how deep do you go, what should we be testing for, fuel related stuff, things like that. That is a bit questionable, but those are things that we will consider,” said Mr. van Genderen.

There are many questions still unanswered as we head into the holiday weekend. At the top of my list: when did the NRA’s arrangement with the DEH become ‘no longer feasible’ and how long this illegal discharge has been taking place.

Cayman 27 put these questions to the NRA and DEH, and are still awaiting answers.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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