Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 27th 2015 Contents RACHAEL ESPINET
The Environmental Management
Authority yesterday was exploring new
leads in the investigation into the source
of the contamination at the Caroni Water
A team of investigators from the EMA s
Emergency Response and Investigations
(ERI) unit tested water at schools, water-
courses around the Caroni area and areas
near the treatment plant as the probe con-
The team used a portable hydrocarbon
detector to analyse the water. The results
in all the tests revealed there was zero mil-
ligrams per litre (mg/L) for the total petro-
leum hydrocarbons, meaning the water
was safe and showed near zero traces of
Contacted last evening, EMA chairman
Dr Allan Bachan said investigators were
pursuing several good leads. He declined
further comment on what the information
was, however, saying he did not want to
compromise the investigation.
"We have to let the investigation take
its course," he added.
The T&T Guardian yesterday visited
numerous areas around Central that were
affected on Wednesday by the water con-
tamination from a petroleum-like sub-
Residents in one of those communities
claimed a company that stores diesel on
its compound was responsible for a leakage
which caused the eventual contamination
of the water in the Caroni River.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the
residents told the T&T Guardian an acci-
dent on the company s compound last
week Friday had led to a storage tank leak-
ing diesel into a nearby drain which even-
tually flowed into the river.
The residents said a truck was filling the
tank with diesel when the accident occurred
and diesel started spilling out of the com-
pound and into the nearby drain.
A company source said workers on the
compound noticed that there was a leak
but it went untreated until after the week-
The tank, which was half full at the time
of the incident, was moved when an acci-
dent occurred. After the tank was moved,
it was refilled and it was only on Tuesday
that company officials began to address
A resident said on Tuesday two trucks
entered their area, one that was marked
clearly as a WASA Estate Police vehicle, as
well as a helicopter hovering over the com-
The resident added that the compound
was subsequently cleaned, particularly on
the outside where the drains were cleaned
out and fresh concrete was placed on top
of the area where the spill remnants could
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
The T&T Guardian checked outside the com-
pound of a company which residents claimed
was the source of the WASA contamination.
There was a black substance smelling like diesel
that turned the dirt outside the compound black.
This substance was found outside the wall that
was in front of a large storage tank on the com-
It was also observed that concrete, which looked
like it was laid recently, had been placed on top
of an area where there was more black-stained
Some of the black-stained soil was seen inside
the drain in front of the tank but the dirt was not
seen along the drain course where the water flowed
into the river.
Asked why the drains were not stained with
diesel, the residents said the company had cleaned
the drain. However, moss and other silt was visible
in the drain. However, the residents claimed that
people from the company placed silt and moss in
the drain to make it look as though the area had
not been cleaned recently.
T&T Guardian spoke to a supervisor from the
company and he claimed that the tank in question
was no longer in use and there was no spill. He
further added that there would be no life like tad-
poles or frogs in the drain had there been a diesel
In 2012, the EMA was called in to investigate
the same company after oil was discarded into a
drain and ended up near the water treatment.
On Wednesday, the EMA identified two areas,
Carapo and Manuel Congo, San Raphael, as possible
sources of where the leaks began but farmers yes-
terday told the T&T Guardian if such a contam-
ination had started further upstream plant and fish
life would have been affected.
Contacted last night, WASA s head of commu-
nications Daniel Plenty said they were not aware
that any WASA vehicle had been dispatched in
that area to investigate any leak.
EMA communications officer Nicole Bachan
also said she was unaware of any complaint of
contamination in the area but said the EMA would
look into the matter.
Minister of the Environment and Water Resources
Ganga Singh is scheduled to tour the treatment
plant today and two of the 61 schools which were
forced to send students home early on Wednesday
due to the problem. Some of those schools yesterday
again dismissed early as a precaution.
Friday, February 27, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 26TH FERBUARY, 2015
EMA boss keeps
info close to chest
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