Tue | Jan 28, 2020

Sewage holds New Haven hostage

Published:Tuesday | December 17, 2019 | 12:24 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

Residents of New Haven in St Andrew are at their wits’ end as the community is frequently overrun with raw sewage flowing through its streets, with residents battling health concerns amid the stench.

They vented their frustration yesterday that years of promises from different authorities had amounted to nought, as they are again under siege.

They barely get any reprieve from the sewage because as soon as one broken main is repaired, another begins to leak, turning streets into rivers of filth.

One resident, Nick Hennie, said that while the needs of the community are many, the sewage problem tops the list above the deplorable condition of roads.

Hennie lives very close to the intersection of Duhaney Terrace and Riverside Drive, which is frequently affected by the nuisance, dealing a severe blow to his shop and jerk chicken and pork stands over the last six months.

“This is a health hazard. It stop nuff people business because sometimes I jerk chicken and pork, and many times, I can’t do that because people are saying the scent is there and the food is in the open, so there could be contamination,” he told The Gleaner. “You have a lot of mosquitoes in there (sewage) and there are a lot of children around. Sometimes people drop inna it. Vehicles have to drive through it. Sometimes they even splash others.”

Seventy-two-year-old Alvona Dias shared how she recently fell into the muck while attempting to cross the road.

“Every two months, sewage pitch out. It was raining one day and the water was high, so by the time I jumped across, mi slip and pitch right back deh suh,” she explained as she pointed to the murky water.

The bones in one of her legs were damaged and she underwent surgery, leaving her with a $95,000 medical bill.

“I would love if they could give us some better road so that no form of water settles anywhere. This is not good. We need fresh air in our lungs,” an outspoken Dias added.

Another resident, who did not wish to be identified, said it was a member of the community who built a small bridge to help persons get across the street without having to manoeuvre through the filth. She said that after years of talk, the community was desperate for action from the authorities to fix the problem once and for all.

St Andrew Western Member of Parliament Anthony Hylton told The Gleaner last night that he has had several meetings with the National Water Commission (NWC) to rectify the long-standing problem.

He is hopeful that with the recent approval for water and sewerage rate increases, the NWC will strengthen its capacity to fix the problem.

“I have written and done everything I can do. It is a real headache,” he said. “What you need is a relaying of an entire community. It won’t just be water alone, but sewerage for New Haven and Duhaney Park.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com