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Water Authority: well waste contaminants safe for landfill disposal

Water Authority Cayman told Cayman 27 it’s confident that a cancer-causing compound found in well waste collected by NRA vacuum trucks can safely be disposed of at the landfill.

Benzo(a)pyrene was detected in excess of Florida standards in sludge samples collected from wetlands where NRA trucks had deposited well waste for approximately eight years, and from a discharge well on Seymour Road.

The Water Authority told Cayman 27 the large benzo(a)pyrene molecules don’t easily dissolve in water, and therefore pose a low risk of leaching through the layers of accumulated waste at the dump.

“You need to visualize this: if you put it on top of the landfill, there’s whatever else is in there, but it has to work its way through the landfill and these contaminants will be retained in the waste that’s in the landfill, it will stop moving, so you don’t have to be worried that it comes out of the bottom,” said Water Resources Engineer Hendrick van Genderen.

Meanwhile, Infrastructure Minister Hon. Joey Hew welcomed the report, stressing that since the issue came to light, thoughtful protocols have been put in place to properly dispose of well waste.

“The good people at the National Roads Authority were only doing their job and helping to alleviate flooding and damage to people’s homes in low-lying areas when vacuuming these wells,” said Mr. Hew when contacted for comment Thursday morning (15 November).

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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