We’re talking about RWZI, again.

And it gives me no pleasure, because we have been talking about it for a long time, but now it’s a pressing matter. Two major, branded hotels are opening in the Eagle Beach area, St. Regis and Iberostar, and they will be sending their black water to the overworked Bubali Plas’ sewer treatment plant.

These two properties were not born today, they have been on the books, in different incarnations, for twenty years, at least.

Fact is that for three decades, GOA has failed to properly address the issue of black water on the island. The Bubali plant was built more than 40 years ago to manage 4,500 tons a day, it is today burdened by 9,000 tons daily.

Over the past year there has been talk about the privatization of the plant, but in fact it is a semi-privatization since it is destined to remain within the government sphere, as a new sui-generis.

It should be truly privatized, and completely independent, because all persons involved are overwhelmed and overworked, and at the mercy of GOA’s budget cuts, one can’t expect them to successfully supervise the new entity, AWSS, Aruba Wastewater Sustainable Solutions NV, if they consistently failed to operate RWZI.

The law governing that move from RWZI to AWSS, that includes a giant levy on our visitors, is now at parliament.

(Parliament just approved a groundbreaking piece of legislation, yesterday: Voting lists may now be handed in digitally).

Parliamentarians were supposed to read the law document and they had hopefully asked for clarifications, because following a questions and answers session the law will be voted in and enacted.

#BoAbogadoFaborito, Lincoln Gomez, wrote a series of articles about the subject. He managed to obtain the legal document establishing AWSS NV and found it badly written. His opinion was supported by the findings of RVA, Raad van Advies, the local independent GOA advisory board. They also thought the project could be undertaken without penalizing stay-over visitors with added fees. They wrote a 127-page report about it. Gomez also found that as far as laws and regulations, Aruba is lagging, and must first complete all environmental / sustainability standards, before arbitrarily raising money to protect what is not yet defined.

I was in the audience when representatives of Utilities NV, GOA’s mothership company intended to supervise AWSS NV, explained it would take two or three years to plan, buy, install a new water processing plant. They also assured us that what they called Fresh Money, to finance the plant, may be easily found on the global money market.

Stopgap measures: Meanwhile and all along for the past two decades, Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort has been winning case after case against GOA to continue to hold it accountable for the loss of revenue resulting from the wafting odors. GOA and DOW are now obliged to implement measures that mitigate the nuisance that the hotel has been a victim of (due to its location next to the plant). A recent verdict confirms that GOA has been running unlawfully, and that it should have moved to combat the negative effects of the failing plant, earlier. All verdicts past and present, dictate substantial penalties for lack of compliance with imposed deadlines.

The latest verdict talks about auxiliary mobile plants to be installed, that should be in place by September 1st, 2024, to help increase the plant’s capacity to 12,000 cubic meters.

The Aruba Tourism Authority offered not long ago, to finance some of the cost with tourism funds.

I am still asking: Why should visitors be charged for flushing, and locals let off the hook?

A law introduced ten years ago and NEVER enacted, The Sewer Ordinance, can easily be pulled out of the drawer, tweaked, and put to good use, with local homes who are connected also paying for the right to press the lever.




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May 14, 2024
Rona Coster