St Lucy folks still holding out hope

For years, they have fought a losing battle with discoloured water, but a major mains replacement programme is underway, giving hope to residents in St Lucy that they will have clear water from the taps.

In Chance Hall, Marva Norville remembers a time when there was clear water, but that was more than a year ago.

“I don’t know if it is the pipes that are rusty now but I remember one time you used to get clear water here. At least it’s not too musty, you can wash wares and bathe with it but you can’t cook or make a cup of tea – for that, I use water from the trucks. I used to buy water but now the water trucks pass regularly, I don’t do that anymore,” she said.

Nearby in Lower Chance Hall, a man, who requested anonymity, said his water had been “brown like mauby” since the beginning of the week, though it had started to clear up.

“We usually use the water from the community tank to cook and drink and use the tap water to wash coloured clothes, not white. It’s become a routine over the years but, hopefully, the day is coming when I can turn on the tap without worry,” he said.

A team from Infra Construction Inc. was in the community making connections to a new main. However, the work is still under way and one of the workers gave a candid account of the water situation.

“That water stink, you should see how it look. New mains getting put down to get rid of all that rusty water so hopefully, just now people here will have access to clean water,” he said.

At Round-The-Rock, a woman, who declined to be identified, said she would not give her animals tap water.

“I go to the community tank to get water for my sheep and dogs, I only use tap water to wash dishes but I still have to scald them,” she said.

She was sceptical about the main replacement work, saying they were making new connections to old pipes.

Rashidi Haynes said he too was hopeful and, like the others, he used tap water to bathe and wash his coloured clothes while  water from the truck was consumed or used to wash his whites.

Candia Joseph said things were bad at Hope Road as “we can’t wash light-coloured clothing in that water”.

“If you see them . . . they come out brown. Every month we have to be paying a bill but we are not getting the full use of the water. The water trucks come, but what if you are at work when it passes, what happens to you? We are more than frustrated,” she said, adding she bought her drinking water.

In Greenidges, Alec Bruce said the water was “mashing up” his clothes which was why he had resolved to only buy dark clothing.

For Veronica James in Durhams Drive, there were days her water was like mud, which happened if there was a burst.

“When it so, you can’t use it, not even to wash. Once it clears up, then I can use it, but I normally use the water from the water truck to cook, bathe and drink. The water trucks pass every day, which is very good, but we still need relief,” she said.

Another Durhams resident, who declined to be identified, said her water had been discoloured since the time of former Member of Parliament Denis Kellman. She said she collected water from the water truck but did not like the taste so she also bought water.

In River Bay, Errol Bostic, who described the water as brown or cloudy, called for the situation to be corrected since they paid for water every month.

Hope for Ena Knight was shortlived after her pipes were flushed a month ago, and for a time, the water was clear. She said she collected water when it was clear and stored it for when times were literally brown.

Member of Parliament Peter Phillips said he was pleased with the progress of the mains replacement programme.

“We’ve had areas such as Lowlands, Round-The-Rock, Jemmotts, and Chance Hall where mains are being replaced and there has been extensive replacement done in the community leading to Colleton and down by the old Barrow’s Children’s Home, more mains are being replaced.

“I can say the last report stated 12 596 kilometres of mains had been replaced and since then, more has been done. The programme is ongoing and extensive and we are making new connections, Fustic is already done as well as Archers Bay and Mavis Town.

“The brown water was due to old pipes. We are changing them out. We haven’t completed the process yet, but the work is ongoing. Eventually, all the brown water will go,” he said.

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