In the Caribbean, non-revenue water (NRW) is an issue that has been significantly
impacting the efficiency of service delivery in water and wastewater utilities. In Jamaica,
this issue is also quite prevalent. As a result, the country’s water and wastewater service
provider, National Water Commission (NWC), is taking steps to improve existing
operating efficiencies of water production and distribution and sewerage systems. To aid
with this endeavour, Cole Engineering Group Ltd. (CEG), funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), was retained to complete a feasibility study on the wastewater aspects in the city of Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica.
Currently in Spanish Town, there are decentralized treatment plants servicing different residential developments. To maximize the efficiency of wastewater management, the feasibility of a centralized treatment and collection system was assessed. This study involved looking into engineering, environmental and social aspects of a centralized system, along with preliminary financial and economic assessments. The analysis was completed using existing information provided by NWC and other local organizations, as well as through field surveys and investigations. The current condition of the existing assets and operating practices were benchmarked. Alternative wastewater servicing options were developed, and a series of evaluation criteria covering the environmental, social, regulatory, financial and conceptual design aspects were used to weigh the risks and benefits of each option to ultimately recommend the preferred solution. The study will serve as a guide for NWC during the detailed design phase in order to maximize the efficiency of wastewater management in Spanish Town. Key recommendations included: improvement of sewage collection, conveyance, and treatment in targeted areas; reduction of pollution to receiving surface water; retirement of the decentralized packaged sewerage facilities; and incremental reduction in operations and maintenance costs associated with the service provision.