The Physical Planning Division is investigating what appears to be seepage of oil into the Layou River which has left residents of the area concerned.
Chief Physical Planner at the Physical Planning Division, Dr. Genora Joseph, said in a statement, that On Thursday 23rd, July, the Division received a report from villagers of Layou that there had been contamination of the Layou River. She said there were also allegations that the contamination originated from the asphalt plant situated in Layou.
Dr. Joseph said that a visit to the Layou river by her and two officers of the Physical Planning Division revealed that there was a dark, oily liquid floating on the vegetative area of the river close to the river mouth and some deposits of oil on the river banks.
“So, in keeping with the complaints that we received from members of the public we proceeded thereafter to investigate the Asphalt Plant [loacted in the area] for any signs of leakage of material from that plant,” Joseph explained…we found no evidence of leakage from the plant; we also investigated the perimeter of the plant and the river area in the immediate vicinity of the asphalt plant and in all those investigations, we found no evidence of leakage of bituminous material from the plant.”
Dr. Joseph said that in the interest of ensuring that the investigation of such matters is thorough, the Physical Planning Division liaises with the various agencies responsible for maintaining good environmental conditions in Dominica including the Environmental Health Department.
“Our inquiries on this matter are very much ongoing; they are very much in the early stages. We are looking to ascertain what is the material that was in the river, the type of oil that was in the river with a great level certainty so that we can identify where it originated and how it came to be in the river,” she said.
Joseph also pointed out that in Layou there are several developments ongoing and members of the Division are keeping an open mind in terms of the likely sources of contamination in Layou.
“We are also considering the possibility that the leak could have originated from heavy equipment operating in the area,” she stated.
The physical planning official gave the assurance her department intends to be very thorough in investigating the type of contamination and the source of contamination in the Layou River and urged members of the public who witness any indiscriminate dumping of contaminants in the river, to report these matters to the Physical Planning Divison or relevant agencies such as the Environmental Health Department.
“We take all these matters seriously and we will investigate these matters.” Dr. Joseph insisted.