Cayman Brac well water contaminated

| 20/04/2018 | 57 Comments

(CNS): The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued a warning to residents of Watering Place, Cayman Brac, after officials found high levels of faecal bacteria contamination in the well water as a result of what could be sewage seepage. Officials urged people not to use well water for drinking, bathing, brushing teeth, cooking, hand-washing and washing of utensils until further notice. The affected areas include Poppy Lane, Mary Eli Road and Plaza Drive. Seven out of eight water samples from the water in these areas have turned up “unsatisfactory levels of E. Coli and other coliform bacteria”, official have said.

Many homes on the Brac do not have piped water, so many residents are still dependent on tanks and wells. The DEH is urging the residents of the affected areas to also boil water from rain catchment tanks.

Cayman Brac Environmental Health Officer Patience Eke explained that tests were taken from the areas last Friday, 13 April, after several residents of Watering Place complained about sewage-like odours emanating from their well water.

“After 24 hours of incubation, seven of those samples showed unsatisfactory levels of E. Coli and other coliform bacteria,” she said.

Follow-up tests conducted in the DEH’s main laboratory in Grand Cayman on Tuesday confirmed these initial results. The DEH has since sought the assistance of the Water Authority to conduct further tests to confirm the source of the contamination.

The presence of E. coli and coliform bacteria in the water is an indication of faecal contamination usually as a result of improper disposal of sewage, officials said in a release Friday evening. No one has yet confirmed how sewage has made it into the local well water.

Residents are warned that if it becomes extremely necessary to use well water, it must be boiled and disinfected with domestic, non-fragrant bleach at a ratio of one teaspoon to every five gallons of water. The public is being warned not to disinfect the water in the well as it is difficult to estimate the quantity of water in the well and the potency of the disinfectant may be significantly reduced, officials stated.

For more information from the DEH laboratory call 949-6696 or email antoinette.johnson@gov.ky.

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (57)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What are the govt or CPA restrictions on cistern catchments?!

    • Anonymous says:

      Non, the just have to be engineered properly. Rather than being discouraged they should be mandatory.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Da wata stink a sh*t!!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    End some of the duty concessions for the Brac to permit some infrastructure investment. I don’t see why they are entitled to special reductions given how much scrounging they do.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The concessions are there to promote development, dufus. Higher fees = even less likely for someone to develop in the Brac. Stop dragging down your sister islands, part of this country like it or not.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The Lesser Caymans can pay their own way or take less from Grand Cayman in handouts. The Brac is basically one huge exercise in social welfare.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Wow, its a good thing your mentality was not around when Goverment made sooooo much money from Oil transfer in the Brac. If those funds were used only for the sister islands, they would have had more development and much better infrastructure.

          But The Cayman Islands is made up of 3 islands and Government decides where funds are spent. BTW, in case you never knew, take a look around and you will realize that GCM was basically built up by the same ‘lesser cayman’ people who moved to GCM.

          The people in the Sister Islands are in no way inferior to the the ones of Grand Cayman, those islands are just not as developed as GCM.

          Increase duty rates and increase Social Services fee. If there is no place to work, how are they to pay the fees.

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          • Anonymous says:

            The Cayman Islands is made up of three islands, Grand Cayman which pays for everything, the Brac which pays for nothing and Little Cayman which is lovely but is too small for this discussion. Brackers iin days past who came to join the economic miracle of Gramd Cayman benefited form the industry of the larger island,s resident and the residents of the Brac seem to think that this history emtitles them to be economic leaches in perpetuity.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Spreading cancer amongst locals because its cool right…

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ll bet the pipe in one or more of the waste injection wells has cracked and is leaking into the shallow fresh water layer.

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    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      That’s a safe bet, if the foecal coliforms are from human waste. I’ve never understood why we place so much faith in deep wells, when the rock that separates the water lense from deeper layers is so perforated. Defecate in one hole, and take water from another a few feet away.

      …… and we keep doing the same thing. This “discovery” in the Brac has probably been there for a long time, and the situation probably exists throughout all three islands, except where those lucky few have leach fields instead of deep wells.

  6. West Bay Premier says:

    The Officials don’t know how sewage got into the well-water . Could it be that the septic tanks and other means of contaminants going into the ground . I am surprised that today year 2018 that Cayman Islands don’t have proper garbage and sewage disposal /treatment systems for the Islands . But the Government can be talking about spending hundreds of millions of dollars a cruise ship pier . I guess that the peoples health and wellness is not important to them the Government .

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Well, well, well. This is a bit of a shitty situation.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    That actually explains alot.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Not in the least bit surprised, look a little further west and you’ll find the underground lake of diesel left behind by Brac Power & Light. But of course the WAC have know about this for 20+ years and have done diddly.
    WAC is wack!

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    • Anonymous says:

      You mean the Power & Light that is 2 miles West? You do know that “faecal bacteria” and diesel are not the same?

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sure he/she knows the difference. If you’d be less of a genius, you’d figure out that he was just adding to the point that the water should not be considered safe…and that there may be other contaminants out there. But you couldn’t help yourself.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You are a real braca sound like

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    • Anon says:

      1045
      Just what is wac?

  10. Anonymous says:

    And what you think Government, say that if you bill a house you need a deep well for your septic. And now Braca’s, can’t use the well water in a place that was named because of the fresh water. For years ships would come to Watering Place, for now you can’t use it to mop out your house now. Or water is gone but, Government have Water Authority so I guess that solves the problem of government messing up our water source that we have to buy water from them in order to wash clothes mop out house and even water plants.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m hearing that water company want to put down a water plant in watering place that’s why they’re discouraging people from using there well water! almighty $$ in control!! wp resident.

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  12. Be Safe says:

    ONE WORD:
    IGUANAS !

    How secure is your well from them? A know of an incident here in Cayman where a pregnant Iguana on a roof crawled into the gutter pipe that leads into the well. She couldn’t get and died in the well. After some time, luckily, the owner of the well notice an ordor scent from the water and decided to investigate. There was the dead iguana and eggs floating all over. The owner had to pay hundreds of dollars to have someone empty and clean the well.

    This just shows how Iguanas can become a dangerous pest. People need to ensure that screens are on their gutter pipes. These critters will get into anything. And they can contaminate the water with serious e coli bacteria.

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  13. Anna says:

    Spot Bay and Watering Place are Districts that have several homes with wells and septic tanks all close together. Of course this concentration will be more problematic. Other Districts do not have homes all close to each other.
    This situation will be phased out as the desal water system from Water Authority is totally completed.
    Boiling water is really the answer to drinking safe water.
    Brushing teeth and bathing needs could be more of a problem.
    Thankfully we have more communication and education today. Thank you CNS for this article. More coverage of the sister islands is appreciated. We never see any articles about Little Cayman. Everything is about crime or problems on GC. There are good things going on on all three islands.
    How about an article praising someone like Mr. Ernie Scott that sings for the elderly and his many skills or Annie Rose Scott that gives of her time and talents to the island.
    Some time ago the newspapers and on line news featured a Caymanian of the Week. This format should be started again. More positive news please.

    CNS: We have a whole site full of positive news – CNS Local Life. Check it out every day.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What is wrong with news showing the reality of Cayman, the good and the bad
      I will take real bad news any day over fake good news

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  14. EXpat Kind says:

    This unfortunately will not get any better with this idiotic government who keeps expanding our population with out regard for us. two types of $#!T now present here one in the drinking water and one living on land. Time to drain the swamp Cayman

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    • Smell it then Tell it. says:

      If you drain all the drug addicts, gang members, conmen, gunslingers, corrupt civil servants,and inhabitants of Northward, locals will be hard to find.

  15. Anonymous says:

    How proper is sewage disposal in Grand Cayman? Anything happened since 2009?

    A report by Catherine Crabb of the Water Authority released in August 2009 indicated that only about 20 per cent of the wastewater generated in the Cayman Islands is collected and treated at the central wastewater treatment plant.
    Poorly treated or untreated wastewater creates a health hazard and an environmental hazard. Currently the wastewater system only serves properties along West Bay Road from Watler’s Road in the south to Raleigh Quay in the north, the exceptions being Canal Point, sections of Governor’s Harbour, and Snug Harbour. (as of 2009)
    The higher proportion of Cayman’s sewage, 80percent, is treated in onsite treatment systems comprised of approximately 13,500 septic tanks and 520 aerobic treatment units. In their 2009 report the Water Authority noted that

    Septic tanks serve the majority of developments constructed prior to 1990 as well as smaller developments constructed since that time. Any new development that cannot be hooked up to the West Bay Beach Road Sewerage System requires a septic tank and a deep well as a minimum.

    Aerobic treatment units are required at larger developments, to achieve a higher level of treatment, known as secondary treatment, a septic tank alone only provides primary treatment.

    An aerobic treatment unit, or package plant as they are known, is required if a development generates over 1,800 gallons of wastewater per day.

    Where it goes
    The effluent from these aerobic plants and from the septic tanks is injected into disposal wells at a depth of 40 to 100 feet below the water table, depending on their location, to ensure injection is into brackish or saline, not fresh water.

    The effluent then travels laterally, eventually reaching the sea. Water Authority director Gelia Frederick-van Genderen explains. (as of 2009)

    “In the Cayman Islands the potential health effect of poorly treated wastewater is that it affects the fresh groundwater, a very limited resource which is still used for potable and non-potable purposes,” says Frederick-van Genderen.

    read more here: https://www.caymancompass.com/2010/03/28/solving-the-sewage-system/

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  16. Anonymous says:

    One might say they were drinking, “Brackish” water…*raises pinky finger to mouth*

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Boyyy look ya

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Same is going to happen in East End but the Brac has been and continues to be off the WAC radar. This is what you get when an authority concentrates more on selling water than it does on protection and conservation. They really are a disgrace.

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  19. Hogwash says:

    I am willing to bet that many of the septic tanks for homes in the areas where the water is contaminated have been built too close to their deep wells.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Deep well too close to the septic tank? Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be? Or do you mean the deep well is too close to the water that is collected for drinking, cooking etc.

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      • Hogwash says:

        No the septic tank is not meant to be built next to your deep well. Why should your water source be near your septic tank?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Because the deep well is the discharge sewage effluent well. The freshwater, being less dense, floats on top. Freshwater wells in Cayman are typically 30 ft deep. Deep wells for discharging sewage effluent are supposed to be 70? lined feet deep! Sorry forget the actual spec..

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes for sure. There are alot of homes in that area, and the properties really small, so septic tanks and wells are really close.

    • Anonymous says:

      What deep wells. Probably just drain field

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      • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

        I doubt it. Leach fields work. I would guess crowded properties with deep wells. Remember, that is what Planning required and still does, unless there is a septic tank.

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