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United Nations Environment Programme
Division of Technology, Industry and Economics
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Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

9.3 Treatment (Topic c)

Information on treatment is largely derived from CEP Technical Report No. 33 (1994). As stated above initial reports indicated only 10% of the sewage generated in the Central American and Caribbean island countries were properly treated. A more recent survey conducted in eleven CARICOM countries by PAHO reported that the percentage of the population served by sewage systems varied from 2 to 16% (CEP 1994).

The operational conditions of the sewage treatment plants operating in the CARICOM countries have been summarized in table 9.6. The information presented in table 9.6, shows the inadequate number of sewage treatment plants in operation, considering the population of the surveyed countries, together with the poor operating conditions of the available treatment plants. The report also indicates that approximately two thirds of the plants surveyed were poorly maintained in the absence of municipal sewerage systems (CEP 1994).

Table 9.6: Number of sewage treatment facilities (STF) available and operating condition

Country Population
1990
x 103
STF Operating Conditions %
Total Surveyed
  G M P NO ?
Antigua & Barbuda 66 20 17 12 35 24 24 5
Bahamas 241 27 18 39 17 22 22 -
Barbados 253 12 12 25 58 17 - -
Belize 184 3 2 - 50 - - 50
British Virgin Islands 13 110 10 10 70 20 - -
Dominica 81 - - - - - - -
Grenada 110 5 5 20 60 20 - -
Guyana 755 2 2 - - 50 50 -
Jamaica 2,480 109 28 39 32 21 4 4
Monserrat 13 1 1 - 100 - - -
St. Kitts & Nevis 45 4   - 75 25 - -
St. Lucia 136 17 13 23 23 15 39 -
St. Vincent & the Grenadines 120 1 1 - - 100 - -
Trinidad & Tobago 1,320 92 25 12 42 11 35 -
Total 5,817 303 138 25% 36% 22% 13% 4%
Note: G = Good; M= Moderate; P= Poor; NO= Not operational; ?= Undetermined
Source: CEP Technical Report No. 33, 1994, p6.

As stated in CEP Technical Report No. 33, “…very little information exists regarding the number and operating conditions of sewage treatment plants serving coastal communities from most of the rest of the countries of the WCR. In the meantime, the population of coastal dwellers in most of the countries of the regions continues to grow steadily, thus increasing the amounts of poorly treated or untreated sewage wastewaters being discharged into the coastal marine environment. Consequently, the potential for public health problems via primary contact with coastal waters and by consumption of contaminated fish or shellfish is a matter of great concern... Moreover, the discharge of untreated sewage effluents may also produce a long-term adverse impact on the ecology of critical coastal ecosystems in localized areas due to the contribution of nutrients and other pollutants" (CEP 1994).

 

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