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Nov 7, 2002

City resident claims sewer ponds pollute her land

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There’s an old adage in the real estate business that the three most important attributes of a property are location, location and location. Well, for the woman featured in our next story…that’s just the problem.

Marie Lewis, Area Resident

“This is from the city. This is not Miss Marie put this here, I never asked for this to come here. They built it and they are suppose to know exactly what suppose to happen. This is a residential area right now. I live here all my life and they come and meet me with that one house there. They could have said and they said that the only house could have been affected was that house. That are aware, they know what is going on and they do nothing. Now that it is worst, they do nothing. I am getting tired.”

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Miss Marie Lewis of number forty Faber’s Road has been tired and frustrated for quite sometime. Over one acre of her three acre property is underwater. She claims the flood is the result of a leak in the Belize Water Services Sewer Ponds located just to the south of the family’s land.

Marie Lewis

“All along here, the whole of this entire block belongs to me. It’s not a small thing that they can deal with, why don’t they come to my rescue?”

“This is a rush pond, this is not a pond that has water all the time. When it is dry, it is very dry. You can walk back here, the children play here. Nothing can be done anymore. We have absolutely no where to go but having this mess.”

Lewis says she had plans to build on the land but showed us a report from the Public Health Bureau that states that water samples taken from around the dike of the sewer ponds tested positive for faecal matter, making it very unhealthy to live here.

Marie Lewis

“We have it very terrible because when the scent comes up it is terrible. And in the night the children are sleeping and they inhale that scent in the night. I think that is what getting the children sick.”

The flooded land is situated just fifty feet away from a third pond that B.W.S. built earlier this year. News 5 has been reliably informed that the construction was done without any Environmental Impact Assessment being done. Lewis believes the six feet high dike that surrounds the pond is largely responsible for the excess water on her property.

Marie Lewis

“If Belize Water Services come and take out this water, I want to build. But the Public Health reject me from coming closer to this. I want to know what they are going to do with my land.”

And Lewis says the leak is not only affecting her property.

Marie Lewis (Pointing to map)

“This coming around here to Jane Usher Boulevard. The people are suffering in Jane Usher Boulevard. And here come along this is the church, this Ellis Alley and this is all my land, my children and grandchildren live here. And this is my land, here that’s suffering with all the water coming in.

Jacqueline Woods

“So the water is backing up?”

Marie Lewis

“Backing up from here all the way around. This is from the Public Health that came in and see.”

The Public Health Bureau in its findings has recommended that a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment be conducted on the area, that the parcel of flooded land be absorbed by B.W.S. and that a buffer zone be maintained and a fence be erected around its perimeter. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

This evening, Richard Pope, B.W.S. Chief Operations Officer, told News 5 that they are aware of the problem and have been conducting a scientific investigation to reach an amicable solution to the matter. When asked why B.W.S. did not have an Environmental Impact Assessment done before the third pond was built, Pope replied by saying they did contact the Department of the Environment and D.O.E. was aware of where the construction would take place.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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