Rio Cobre Oil Spill Results in Shutdown of NWC Treatment Plant

Several communities are experiencing no water services as a result of an oil spill in the Rio Cobre Valley. The National Water Commission – NWC)says an “apparent oil spill” in the Rio Cobre has resulted in a shutdown of it’s Spanish Town Treatment Plant in St. Catherine. 

In a news release, the NWC shared that contaminated raw water did not enter its facilities or pipelines but they will be monitoring the situation.

Affected communities include Westmore, Hampton Green, Lakemore Gardens, Newton Avenue, Nugent Street, McCoy’s Land, Mayfair Mews, Brunswick Avenue, Job’s Lane, White Water Meadows, Hartlands, McCooks Pen, Leiba Gardens, Sydenham Gardens, Wedge Wood Gardens, Willowdene Housing Scheme and Hopedale Housing Scheme.

This announcement comes just days after the NWC announced plans to source water from the Rio Cobre to address water issues facing residents of the Kingston Metropolitan Area. 

On September 12 NWC’s President, Mark Barnett said the water would also be sourced from rehabilitated wells. 

“We are at an advanced stage of adding 15 million gallons of water per day to the network, coming from the Rio Cobre, to help alleviate the water issue in Kingston. We believe that this, in addition to the rehabilitation of 11 to 15 wells, which were abandoned due to high nitrate levels, should provide an additional one-third of the flow of ‘new’ water into the city.”, Mr. Barnett said.

There was a similar incident in 2010, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) issued an advisory to the public about an oil spill in the Rio Cobre River, warning against swimming in the Flat Bridge area.

ODPEM/NEPA advised the public that a trailer carrying a 40-foot container overturned in the Rio Cobre River while going through the Bog Walk Gorge, Friday morning. The location is 1.2 km after passing the Flat Bridge going towards Bog Walk in St Catherine.