Government engineers are being trained to enhance Guyana’s minimal waste management strategies and treatment through a five-day training workshop in waste water management strategies.
The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) and the Institute for Water Education of UNESCO collaborated to host the workshop which is funded by the Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater management (CREW).
The workshop which opened this morning at the Millennium Manor Hotel, Hadfield Street will benefit workers from (GWI), Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), Central Planning and Housing Authority (CH&PA) and the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).
Wastewater is water that has waste materials which includes industrial liquid waste and sewage waste. The Minister with responsibility for Water, Dawn Hastings-Williams who delivered brief remarks said for too long Guyana has been struggling with its water resource.
“We tried our best to do what is in our ability and even though Guyana is the land of many waters we have shortage of water sometimes and when the country is flooded we do not have a system in place to harvest the flood water and reuse it,” Minister Hastings-Williams explained.
The Minister urged the participants to join the fight in establishing water security measures to safeguard the water and “use it to see how best we can utilise it and how best we can treat it in order for Guyanese to have a good supply of quality water.”
Minister Hastings-Williams urged the gathering to put systems in place to last for decades and meet the needs of future generation and weather conditions especially climate change. She also encouraged participants to be interactive and use the training as an opportunity to better the water sector of all Guyanese.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), GWI, Dr. Richard Van West Charles told the gathering that the training is critical since Guyana has a big problem with waste water management.
The CEO explained that the contributing factor to this is the lack of properly designed septic tanks. He added that another challenge is implementing measures to deal with waste water management in the new towns including Mahdia, Mabaruma, Rose Hall, Corriverton and Anna Regina.
According to Dr. Van West Charles behavior change in the population is something that GWI will also have to look at to properly tackle waste disposal. “The biological and health waste from hospital is still a major issue despite the fact there were many interventions to promote proper waste disposal. So we are working with institutions and Ministries especially the Ministry of Education to start informing the schools about waste disposal.”
Currently GWI is in discussions with the CH&PA to install waste water treatment plants in new housing schemes and to replace the age old distribution system in Georgetown for more effective distribution of sewage. The aim is to replace septic tanks with the wastewater treatment plants in the new housing schemes such as the Farm housing scheme. The GWI is also targeting riverain communities, “so that all Guyanese can benefit and not just a few selected communities,” Dr. Van West Charles explained.
Meanwhile Director, Operations, GWI, Dwayne Shako noted that Guyana has zero treatment of waste water, therefore, this workshop is necessary since it will establish cost effective systems for wastewater.
Shako deemed the workshop as timely and the first step towards acquiring knowledge of waste management strategies and treatment. “The knowledge part is very important since many times we do not need to look at high income systems that would cost us billions of dollars. The solution is right here with minimum investment with low cost systems we can use to help us with waste water management,” Shako explained.
The GWI Operations Director urged the participants to use the knowledge gained and apply it practically in their respective community, town or village to better tackle the waste water situation.
The facilitator of the workshop is UNESCO- IHE representative from Mexico Dr. Carlos Lopez Vasquez. Dr. Vasquez said there is no perfect technology but if there is an area where the land is discoursed and one wants to treat the water for reuse there are low cost available technologies to do so.
Dr. Vasquez told the participants that technologies has its advantages and disadvantages and “we only need to know what it the most applicable one for our specific needs in a specific location.”
The course will look through the basic conditions to understand what’s in the water, how to remove the contaminants and to know from what quantity and quality will define what is the pace and strategy to deal with waste water.
According to the Government Information Agency, the training will conclude on Friday January 13, 2017.