Water Authority varies discharge permit

The Cayman Islands Turtle Farm has been granted a variation to its marine discharge permit that now includes the discharge of effluent from Dolphin Discovery Cayman Ltd, the Water Authority has announced.

Despite Dolphin Discovery bringing in six bottlenose dolphins to its facility in early December 2008, this variation, required under Water Authority Law to allow Dolphin Discovery to legally dispose of its discharge from the dolphin lagoon, has not been granted until now. Missing information from the Cayman Turtle Farm had held up issuance of the permit and that was received by the Water Authority in early February, Director of the Water Authority Gelia Frederick van Genderen told Cayman Free Press recently.

In October 2008 the Water Authority granted the discharge permit to the Turtle Farm with the restriction that only effluent from the turtle breeding pond and the commercial turtle tanks could be discharged into the ocean.

In the course of the last two months both the Turtle Farm and Dolphin Discovery provided further specific details on their operations to satisfy the conditions of the Water Authority to grant the variation of the original permit to include the discharge from the dolphin lagoon.

The permit includes specific conditions to monitor water quality and flows. The information obtained from this monitoring programme is essential to determine effective interventions to reduce the impact of the waste discharge on the marine environment, said a press release from the Water Authority.

Dr. Frederick van Genderen commented: ‘The Water Authority appreciates the high level of commitment of the Turtle Farm to reduce their environmental impacts; this will result in a win-win situation, not only for the Turtle Farm and the Water Authority, but for the Cayman Islands as a whole, because our precious marine environment will improve as a result of this permit’.

Mr. Joseph Ebanks, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Turtle Farm and Boatswain’s Beach echoed that sentiment: ‘We offer a unique and true Caymanian experience at a world class facility. Our marine environment is such an essential ingredient of our Caymanian tradition that we owe it to our past, current and future generations to protect that marine environment and we are fully committed to do so’.

The permit includes specific targets for the combined operation of the Turtle Farm, Boatswain’s Beach and Dolphin Discovery Cayman Ltd. to reduce the waste discharge into the marine environment by 50 per cent. The Turtle Farm has already worked closely with Dr. Thomas Goreau, a world renowned specialist in protection of coral reefs and with Mr. Henning Gatz of Aquacare Environment Inc. to identify specific treatment processes to aggressively address the waste issues at the facility.

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