Residents of Belmopan may have noticed that the distinctive foul odor at the Guanacaste park junction is no longer there. If you were to take a closer look at the stream than runs below the junction, you’d also notice that the distinctive red color is also gone and the water appears somewhat normal again. As you may remember, last month we reported that the Department of the Environment had taken samples from the reddish, smelly stream and was waiting on the results.

Those results are in and according to DOE the water showed a high concentration in starch which is a substance used in the brewing of liquor. The only liquor distillery in the area is Traveller’s distillery located less than a quarter mile from the Guanacaste park junction. We spoke to one of the owner’s of travelers, Mayito Perdomo, who had indicated to us that this is not normal for them.

So what went wrong? Well according to the authorities, Traveller’s treatment machine used to treat their effluents recently stopped working. Effluents treated need to measure at a certain level low contaminants before they can be released into the river, in this case the Belize River. BWS, who is located adjacent to them, also do this.

So on temporary basis, Traveller’s proposed a plan to divert their effluents to BWS in addition to treatment of their waste in their settling ponds before the waste is discharged into the river. BWS has allowed this and the Department of the environment has accepted the proposal on the condition that they set up a sampling port where they could sample their effluent before it goes into the BWS system.

This temporary solution will be set in place up until November and they have indicated that they will do a more permanent solution to the problem when they close for production season. As it relates to contamination to the Belize River and its inhabitants the Department of the Environment says there is no indication of any major contamination.