January 6, 2014
The enforcement and monitoring capabilities of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) have been strengthened by the enactment of new environmental regulations.
The regulations, the Natural Resources Conservation (Wastewater and Sludge) Regulations were signed by Minister Honourable Robert Pickersgill on April 24, 2013, became effective immediately and are being administered by NEPA.
These new regulations will bolster NEPA’s ability to demand greater accountability from owners and operators of wastewater treatment plants in ensuring that the prescribed standards are met. Under the regulations, existing and new operators of facilities that generate sludge and discharge treated (sewage) effluent and trade effluent to the environment will require new licences under three possible categories:
The fees applicable under the regulations are dependent on the source of the discharge and the nature of the activity.
NEPA recently held four workshops in the parishes of Kingston, Clarendon, St James and St. Ann to sensitize stakeholders to the new regulations. More than 200 stakeholders from hotels, industrial facilities, schools and government entities were in attendance.
Marie Chambers, Manager Legal Services Branch at NEPA informed stakeholders that the Wastewater and Sludge Regulations were groundbreaking pieces of legislation which will ensure that wastewater treatment facilities conform to international standards and hence reduce the pollution of the local marine environment.
“This legislation will also facilitate Jamaica’s ratification of the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities under the Cartagena Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region,” she said.
In order to facilitate a smooth implementation of the regulations, NEPA has designated a Focal Point to oversee the implementation of the Wastewater and Sludge Regulations. The contact person for the focal point is Joni Jackson of the Pollution Monitoring and Assessment Branch who can be reached at 191 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6; Tel: 927-1105 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.