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Samples from NRA illegal discharge site sent overseas for testing

A Cayman 27 news report that exposed the National Roads Authority illegally discharging well water waste into a wetlands area prompts action.

Water Authority Cayman said it has collected samples from three sites, and sent them to an overseas lab for testing.

A three-person team from Water Authority Cayman’s Water Resources and Quality Control Division took samples from a storm water drainage well in Industrial Park in mid-July, said Water Authority Cayman Corporate Communications officer Hannah Reid.

She told Cayman 27 the samples have been sent overseas for testing.

A Cayman 27 investigation uncovered the NRA illegally discharging well water waste from its vacuum trucks into the wetlands along Linford Pierson Highway back in June

“The testing that was done is to make sure that we can understand what the characterization of the storm water well is, we can know what contaminants, if any, are in the waste water, and then we can be able to help the [National Roads Authority] develop a more effective disposal method that does not endanger the environment,” said Ms. Reid.

In June, a Cayman 27 report exposed the NRA illegally discharging storm water well waste into wetlands along the Linford Pierson Highway.

The Water Authority and the Department of Environment met with the NRA later that month to resolve the disposal issue, and agreed to conduct scientific tests.

“We went to a separate control site which was a wetland site, so we have an idea of what a pure wetland looks like, and then to the NRA dumping site, to take samples there so we can have a comparison between the two sites,” explained Ms. Reid.

Two sets of samples were collected in mid-July, one for the Water Authority’s in-house lab, the other was shipped same-day to a laboratory overseas.

“The laboratory here was testing for total coliform’s including E. Coli, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and then the samples sent overseas will include testing for the presence of heavy metals, the presence of volatile organic compounds, and semi-volatile organic compounds,” said Ms. Reid.

In theory, only storm water should be going down a storm water drain, but she said in practice, that’s not always the case.

“What we do see occasionally is people using the storm water wells as dumping sites for hazardous materials and that is something that the Water Authority does not condone,” she said.

The Water Authority said the results of these tests will help determine better disposal methods for this type of waste.

The Water Authority said it expects to have the results in hand from the overseas lab any day now.

Ms. Reid says when the results are in, the Water Authority, the DOE, and the NRA will meet again to interpret those results, and come up with a better disposal plan.

The NRA’s well vacuuming programme remains on hold until a solution is determined.

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 josephavary@hurleysmedia.ky

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