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Water Authority report reveals heavy metals, known carcinogen in well waste samples

Five months after the National Roads Authority was caught illegally dumping well-waste into the wetlands along Linford Pierson Highway, test results confirm the presence of a known carcinogen in samples sent abroad for testing.

The highly-technical 18-page report from Water Authority Cayman on the characterization of waste from the storm water well cleaning answers many of the unanswered questions, including what’s in the well-water waste itself, and how long the NRA had been illegally dumping it into the environment.

The report revealed four sites used by the NRA to discharge its 4,000 gallon vacuum trucks after pumping out drainage wells around the island. The most used of these illegal disposal sites was the wetlands area along the Linford Pierson Highway where in June Cayman 27 filmed an NRA vacuum truck discharging its contents.

The Water Authority report revealed that the NRA used three other sites for well waste disposal, including one at the Bobby Butz quarry site across from Spotts dock, one in Frank Sound off Halley St., and one in West Bay near Pappagallo.

Late Tuesday afternoon Cayman 27 got its first look at the full report with Water Authority Water Resources Engineer Hendrick van-Genderen.

Among the heavy metals and semi-volatile compounds detected in the well-waste was Benzo(a)pyrene, a group-one carcinogen found in samples taken from the Linford Pierson Highway site and a drainage well on Seymour Road.

“Benzo(a)pyrene is a carcinogen, so when you see that, everybody’s going to go, this is dangerous, which it is,” said Mr. van Genderen.

However, Mr. van Genderen said the risk of potential exposure is minimal.

“I would say that the risk, although it exceeded this criteria, the risk of people being exposed to it is very very low, and I think that is the perspective, where we need to put it in,” said Mr. van Genderen.

The report said there is insufficient data to confirm the Benzo(a)pyrene in samples is directly related to well-waste disposal, but concludes it is likely that it originates from traffic emissions deposited on the road surface and are flushed into drainage wells after rainfall.

13:04 in this particular context, we were just looking for what is in the samples, and is there anything that we are worried about, we didn’t go as far as to make a link like, ok where did it come from… we just know now, that it is in these samples, in the low levels, but it exceeds the Florida standard,” said Mr. van Genderen.

There’s a lot of information in the report, which was obtained late Tuesday afternoon.

Cayman 27 spoke with Mr. van Genderen at length about the test methodology and the results, and plans to include more information in future newscasts.

The big change that did come of this investigation, is the NRA is no longer dumping at any of aforementioned sites, and has secured an arrangement with the Department of Environmental Health to dispose of it at the landfill.

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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