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Water truck operators in Westmoreland to receive credentials

Published:Saturday | February 11, 2023 | 12:20 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

At least 12 of the approximately 25 water truck operators in Westmoreland are to receive credentials to legally transport potable water to residents in communities where the commodity is not regularly available.

That is according to Steve Morris, the chief public health inspector for the parish, in a presentation to councillors in attendance at Thursday’s general monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation held in Savanna-la-Mar.

Morris said that support for a recent food handlers’ training exercise, carried out by public health officers for truckers in the parish as part of their licensing requirements, was very encouraging.He said that more than 40 persons were in attendance, far more than the number of those who actually applied to be licensed.

“Before the end of this month, about 12 of them should be ready. My officers are doing the inspection of the trucks, which include those owned by the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation and the National Water Commission,” said Morris.

“We are well on the way now to getting their certification completed,” he assured councillors from the 14-seat municipal corporation.

Continuing, he said, “By the end of next month (March), we should have all of the 25 applications ready and we will also be issuing the list of certified trucks to the council, the police and other agencies that are responsible for the monitoring aspects, including the public.”

Last June, public health inspectors in Westmoreland stepped up enforcement of the Public Health (Food Handling) Regulations, which place water in the general definition of food.

Trucking operations in the parish came under increased scrutiny in recent months after the Public Health Department detected that water of substandard quality had been distributed to consumers.This, after industrial action by some 2,000 National Water Commission workers crippled residential, commercial and government activities islandwide last May.