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Caye Caulker's Coming Crisis

Posted By: Marty

Caye Caulker's Coming Crisis - 01/03/20 12:29 PM

So, while the Caye Caulker is focused on the losses in tourism earnings caused by the utility failures, residents are telling us that there is another crisis that has also been slowly building. The island does not have an adequate sewage and liquid waste disposal system, and they tell us that with the growth of this community, sewage is about to become a big environmental hazard. 

Here's how the chair of both the BTIA in Caye Caulker and the Village Council explained it to us on New Year's Eve:

Maria Vega - Chair, BTIA Caye Caulker
"The liquid waste disposal plan with the Caye Caulker BTIA and the planning agencies has been on the table, and on our priority agenda for 30 years now. So, when we call the media again for another crisis with liquid waste disposal, it will not be an over-night emergency. This is building up for decades."

Seleny Villanueva-Pott - Chairperson, Caye Caulker Village Council
"Since the last village council, we 've been struggling to find a temporary solution because it 's so costly. So, what we 've done is we 've hired a septic disposal service to come in on the island, every now and then to pump out the septics. But, this is only temporary. We need something more permanent, and if we don 't do something sooner [rather] than later, we will feel the repercussions. So, again, we call on the proper agencies to please come in and assist us with this before it 's too late."

We hope to discuss the topic with the Tourism Minister at tomorrow's utilities press conference. 

Channel 7
Posted By: Marty

Re: Caye Caulker's Coming Crisis - 01/04/20 12:02 PM

Big Sewage Problem Looms Over Caye Caulker

You'll notice that at the end of his comments, the BWS CEO briefly brought up the concerns about a proper sewage system for the island. As we showed you last night, residents are worried that sewage is a growing problem for Caye Caulker. They have sounded the alarm that if something is not done urgently, that's another crisis waiting to happen.

Well, the CEO told residents that the BWS is acutely aware of the problem, and is currently exploring possible solutions:

Alvan Haynes - CEO, BWSL
"The unfortunate thing is that sewage collection and treatment is required urgently for environmental reasons, health reasons, and business reasons. But sewage is expensive. It's the most expensive infrastructure of all the utilities, and strangely enough, no one wants to pay the costs that the sewage treatment and collection will come up to. So, in collaboration with the Government, BTB, the Ministry of Finance - and the Ministry of Finance has pledged 3 million dollars toward assisting with a project for South Caye Caulker. We're looking initially to try to put a modular treatment plant, but that can't even begin to cover the cost of the collection system, mainly the trenching, piping - and if it needs be - pumping and pump stations that will be needed to go in the ground, and on the ground to reach the plant. So, we're seeking grant funding, and grant funding doesn't come in overnight. We can't just sit down, write a letter, and put it on social media, and hope that Bill Gates will say, 'Yea, Belize or Caye Caulker, here is 30 million dollars.' So, we're working on that. We have spoken with a number of agencies, and we're looking at how we can implement that."

From the perspective of BWS, the island will need two separate sewage treatment plants to service the northern and southern parts of Caye Caulker.

Channel 7


BWS to Address Growing Sewage Concerns on Caye Caulker

Belize Water Services, for its part, has also committed to erecting a pair of storage facilities on both ends of Caye Caulker. In addressing the growing concerns about sewage and wastewater treatment, C.E.O. Alvan Haynes says it will not include an underwater pipeline.

Alvan Haynes, C.E.O., Belize Water Services

“The geography of Caye Caulker being an island some distance from the mainland where most of the team and a lot of the assets are, does create some challenges and unlike B.E.L. we will not be able to run a submarine cable to let water reach the island so we’re dependent on making sure there’s adequate infrastructure and backup locally.  Also, when we’re looking at the sewage treatment and collection it became obvious early on that with the north expanding rapidly, the north would have to have a separate system simply because whilst we have run an underground line to the north for water, we dare not do that with raw sewage.  There’s no way we’re gonna pump raw sewage through an underground or underwater line.  The risks are too high.”

Channel 5

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