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A section of the Caroni River contaminated by dirt which caused the shutdown of WASA’s Caroni Water Treatment Plant yesterday.

Shaliza Hassanali

Days after thousands of customers had their water supply disrupted through the illegal action of a contractor who was found dumping soil and sand into a major watercourse, the water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) is still exploring what action can be taken.

Confirmation came from WASA’s executive director Dr Lennox Sealy yesterday.

On Tuesday, WASA had to shut down the Caroni Water Treatment Plant due to high turbidity (the quality of water being cloudy, opaque) (or thick with suspended matter) into the raw water.

Checks by WASA found a contractor dumping dirt in the vicinity in the Manuel Congo area belonging to Harry Persad and Sons Ltd.

The incident cut the plants production by almost half, from 75 million gallons to 45 million gallons of water.

Over 300,000 customers have been affected.

Yesterday, Sealy said the plant was back in operations.

WASA also took samples of the water for testing.

“We are coming back to normal. We have had to do a lot of clean up. It has been difficult,” he said.

However, he could not quantify the losses incurred by WASA as a result of the plant shutting down.

“That is a sticky one that is being discussed. We are looking at international best practice in that regard right now. I have searched for precedent in that regard and I am having challenges in finding a precedent, you know, that a particular quarry operator was fined so much based on the plant having to do corrective action with X and a proper figure with Y because X number of people were affected. I haven’t found it.”

Sealy could not say the volume of water that was cut off when the disruption took place.

He said WASA has explored the law while they held a cordial discussion with the contractor on Tuesday.

“I called him (contractor) directly. He was also visited by the EMA and the Ministry of Energy. We are looking at our options.”

While the contractor gave his story of the story, Sealy said they would not ambush people.

“The matter is being discussed as to how we proceed.”