(Jamaica Information Service) – The Scientific Research Council (SRC) is encouraging individuals and entities to make use of its wastewater management services to reduce the harmful effects of untreated effluent on the environment.
Through its Wastewater Management Unit, the SRC designs and implements environmentally friendly treatment plants and provides several wastewater management services, including feasibility studies.
It also offers assessments and troubleshooting for clients who may be having a challenge with their existing treatment plants.
Manager for the Process Development Division, which has oversight for the Wastewater Management Unit, Jodie Dunn, told JIS News that poorly built and managed wastewater plants can cause pollution by the leaching of contaminants into the surrounding soil, open drains, and water bodies.
This poses a threat to the environment and public health and safety and could jeopardise the country achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal six, aimed at ensuring clean water and sanitation for all.
“When wastewater contaminates water bodies it can result in eutrophication, compromise marine life, result in fish-kill and waterborne diseases, so it’s very important for us to properly treat wastewater,” Mrs. Dunn said.
Training in both anaerobic and aerobic technology in the operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment plants is also available through the SRC’s Wastewater Management Unit.
The SRC also works closely with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to ensure that individuals and entities are in compliance with wastewater treatment standards.
The entity offers assistance with obtaining a sludge and wastewater licence from NEPA. Operations of a wastewater treatment plant for the discharge of trade or sewage effluent without a licence granted by NEPA, is illegal under the Natural Resource Conservation Act.
“Wastewater treatment requires financial inputs, and a lot of persons don’t believe that they should spend money on treating their wastewater. So, you do have persons out there who are not prioritising their wastewater treatment and cutting corners. Therefore, the role of our partner, NEPA, is important as regulators, to correct these actions as the SRC provides citizens with environmentally safe and effective wastewater treatment solutions,” Mrs. Dunn told JIS News.
She noted that in recent times, the SRC has been engaged by persons/entities fined by NEPA for failure to operate an environmentally friendly wastewater treatment plant.
“They are now being responsible by seeking the SRC’s assistance in ensuring that they are compliant with the NEP- stipulated wastewater standards,” she told JIS News.
On the matter of safety, Mrs. Dunn urged personnel to wear adequate safety gear when working with sludge and wastewater.
“If you are responsible for maintaining and operating a treatment plant, especially one that’s large scale, you must protect yourself and wear protective gear, such as safety shoes, goggles and respirators, because sometimes these tanks contain toxic gases,” she advised.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the SRC, Dr. Charah Watson, told JIS News that the entity has successfully commissioned more than 360 systems at the residential and commercial levels, which include biodigesters, up-flow anaerobic sludge blankets (UASB) and Biodigester Septic Tanks (BST™), to replace soakaway pits. The SRC has a patent for the BST™.
“These easy-to-maintain, cost-effective systems utilise waste to produce energy, giving life to the saying ‘turning trash into cash’. Products of anaerobic technology are organic fertiliser, biogas (alternative energy) and treated wastewater that can be used for irrigation (reducing use of potable water) or returned to water bodies without harm. The systems propagated by the SRC are compliant with NEPA standards,” Dr Watson noted.
Persons or entities interested in utilising the SRC’s wastewater management services can call (876) 927-1771-4; 977-2191; 977-1110 or email email@example.com.