IADB hosts Tobago Environmental and Wastewater Workshop

On February 13th and 14th the Tobago Environmental and Wastewater workshop took place at the Hilton Tobago. This workshop was hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and coordinated by WASA and Buccoo Reef Trust (BRT). Other stakeholders included: Relevant THA departments, TIDCO, IMA, and All Fisher Folk Association. The Honourable Rennie Dumas (Minister of Public Utilities and Environment), The Honourable Dr. Keith Rowley (Minister of Planning and Development), The Honourable Orville London (Chief Secretary, THA) and Mr. Errol Grimes (CEO, WASA) all indicated their full support of this project not only from a physical infrastructure point of view but also from an environmental perspective. The desired outcome of this meeting, as expressed by Mr. Victor Traverso, Principal Infrastructure Specialist Region 3 in the IADB Environment and Natural Resource Division 3, was to determine whether the preferred project option was an acceptable solution to the wastewater problem plaguing the south west end, bearing in mind that there are other proposed options and that the IADB will also be taking into account the cost of project implementation and survival.

Thames Water International, an international consulting firm, presented a study that looked at various options for managing wastewater treatment in Tobago. The study was done over the time period 1992-1994 and looked primarily at wastewater treatment for the entire island, but focussed on the south west of Tobago. The objective of that study was to identify technical and cost effective means of performing wastewater treatment. Several options for disposal of wastewater were proposed, however, the preferred option is to develop a sewage treatment plant in the Crown Point area with a discharge pipe located offshore. The exact location and length of the discharge pipe are yet to be determined since additional oceanographic studies are required in order to inform the precise placement of an outfall pipe i.e. if this is the selected option for wastewater management. Some of the other options are: (i) establish a sewage treatment plant both in Crown Point and Plymouth and diverge the waste from Plymouth to the Crown Point facility; and (ii) establish sewage treatment facilities at Plymouth and Crown Point and send waste collected to the Scarborough plant.

Accompanying the project proposal presentation were presentations from the environmental NGO community (Buccoo Reef Trust and Environment Tobago) and WASA. The slant of the environmental NGOs’ presentation was to highlight and identify the areas of the environment that are vulnerable to the effects of untreated effluent and the social issues that are involved in developing such a project. The WASA presentation highlighted the authority’s planning framework for the development of water and sewage treatment in Tobago