Experts agree – ew Basseterre High School poses no threat to the Basseterre aquifer

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 30, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – During a well-attended Community Forum held on Wednesday (May 29) evening, a panel of experts dispelled any and all fears as it relates to possible environmental fallout associated with the construction of the new state-of-the-art Basseterre High School at Ponds Estate in East Basseterre.

The panel included Director of the Department of Public Works, Mr. Cromwell Williams; Chairman Innotech Services (St. Kitts) Ltd, Mr. Anthony De Silva; Environmental Engineer and Water Expert, Dr. Halla Sahely; Senior Principal at Stantec Caribbean, Mr. Andrew Hutchinson; Director of the Development Control Planning Board, Mr. Randolph Edmeade, and D&B Project Manager at Innotech Services (St. Kitts) Ltd, Mr. Ian Rogers.

The interactive session was also attended by Cabinet ministers, led by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, the Honourable Shawn Richards.

Throughout their presentations the experts alluded to some of the key factors addressed in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the new Basseterre High School. Some of the key factors included the institutional and legislative framework, storm water drainage with regards to flood risk, the disposal and treatment of wastewater/sewage, possible impacts on the Basseterre Valley Aquifer, vehicular traffic in the environs and impacts that may arise during the construction phase.

Having studied in depth the characteristics of the Basseterre Valley Aquifer, including over 30 years of data, Mr. Cromwell Williams stated categorically that the location at Ponds Estate does not pose a threat or danger to the potable water supply.

“The fact is that the water flows under the influence of gravity from northwest to southeast or from north to west generally. Water from below where the school is proposed to go basically has no chance of reaching the closest well, which is designated well-148,” said Mr. Williams, who is a qualified hydrogeologist with over 20 years of experience.

According to Mr. Williams, the site of the new Basseterre High School is located approximately 1,000 feet downstream of well-148.

Meanwhile, included in the EIA are a number of mitigation measures proposed for the new state-of-the-art educational facility, such as the construction of a sewage treatment plant.

Senior Principal at Stantec Caribbean, Mr. Andrew Hutchinson said, “What the EIA speaks to is that we will collect all of the sewage on the site in pipes/manholes and take it off the site unto the open space next door where we will build a treatment system. The treatment system will consist of two septic tanks followed by what is referred to as alternating intermittent recirculation reactor.”

The presentations were followed by a lively question and answer segment where the six experts fielded and responded to wide ranging questions from members of the community.

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