Sean Melville, President of the Parent Teacher’s Association (PTA) of the Speyside Anglican Primary School, said the sewer problem which forced early closure of classes on the first two days of the new school term., will be closely monitored over the next two weeks to ensure repair works are effective.
On Monday, on the first day of the new school term, classes at the school were cut short as the toilets were deemed unusable, forcing the Division of Education to provide portable toilets. One Tuesday, reports were that the lines on the portable toilets were damaged causing flooding, which led to early dismissal of classes again.
Chief Secretary and Secretary of Education Kelvin Charles said when the report was made about the sewer problem, backup systems were immediately put in place.
“Be that as it may, we decided that we have to treat obviously with the situation, so we would have dispatched a potential contractor to the site and because we were uncertain as to the real reason for the disruption we had a Plan B… we decided to also send two portable toilets up. The following day by 10 am, the job was completed,” he said.
On Friday, Melville told Newsday Tobago, however, that issues with the sewerage system and the toilets at the school was nothing new.
This is a 20-year-old problem… over 20 years, this school has been experiencing this problem. The problem seems to be more underground… part of the building is resting on an old sewer system and apparently that sewer system may not have been properly condemned and I want to believe when there is a heavy flow of water, there is water coming up from underground and it gets into that sewer system and as such creates a backup… you have water coming into the toilets which is very smelly,” he said.
Melville said the problem reared its head again on Monday and following a report to the Education Division, an engineer was sent to do some checks and remedial work on the premises.
“We would have agreed to a two-week period to test the system to see how it is going to work. …after that we are going to determine whether or not the problem is really fixed or not,” he said.
“It is the opinion of the engineers that the problem is solved, however I am of a different opinion having an understanding of what has been going on and the timeframe with which it has been going on for.
“Over and over again, the Division has sent workmen to work around the project. They have been fixing all kinds of things but not getting to the project and I am of the firm opinion that over the next couple of days, if we should get some good rainfall, that problem is going to raise its ugly head again,” he said.