As the Water Authority prepares to undertake major repairs to failing wastewater systems at Randyke Gardens, Ministry of Finance records show the Randyke Strata has not paid a single cent back on a government loan totalling $439,800.38, given to vendors to install the wastewater systems in December 2007.
“To date, the government has received no payments on this loan,” according to an email from Ministry officials.
Raw sewage has been discharging on the ground at the flood-prone east George Town development for at least nine months. As in 2007, the cause of the wastewater problems has been identified as negligence on behalf of the Randyke Strata. According to the Water Authority, the systems installed in 2007 would not have failed if the Strata had provided for regular maintenance, which the authority provided for free for one year after the installation of the system.
The Legislative Assembly approved the amount of the Randyke loan in 2007. Earlier this month, authority deputy director Tom van Zanten said the cost of the newest round of repairs – where two of the eight wastewater systems at Randyke are discharging raw sewage – would not be known until workers assessed the scope of the project.
In correspondence with the authority that began after complaints about raw sewage arose in January 2011, the Strata’s last-recorded chairman Leticia Catanghal indicated she was resigning her position due to frustration over indifference from a majority of owners. She asked for government assistance because the “Strata’s financial situation was in deficit”, according to documents from the authority.
When notified of the latest round of problems, the authority contacted the Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture, requesting the matter be turned over to the attorney general for prosecution for violating the Water Authority Law. For the violation of discharging raw sewage on the ground, the Law prescribes a penalty of a fine of $6,000 and one year’s imprisonment. However, the Government decided to assist the Strata in repairing the wastewater systems rather than pursuing charges.
Regulatory agencies have been attempting to address wastewater failures at the 80-unit development since its creation in 1990, according to the authority, which described the 2007 intervention as “an extraordinary measure”.
One condition of the government arranging for the new repairs is the Strata enter into a contract with a qualified service provider to maintain the systems.
Results from the Authority’s Onsite Wastewater Management Programme indicate all of Randyke’s eight wastewater systems (with seven being tested in April 2009 and one in November 2009) showed contaminants in excess of levels prescribed under the law. In July, the authority said it had tested at least once all of Cayman’s 448 private sewage systems that had been installed before August 2010; of those, 91 per cent failed.