Oranjestad, St. Eustatius -The Directorate of Economy and Infrastructure of the Public Entity St. Eustatius has started a large scale clean-up of 4 catchments (infiltration ponds).
The clean-up exercise started with the catchment at Lodi and will include catchments near Chapel Piece Foundation, Sandy Road and South of Statia Mall. The clean-up started August 14th and is scheduled to complete by October 1st.
The objective of the project is to re-instate the original function of the catchment of rain water run off infiltration. Not cleaning the catchments regularly has resulted in reduced infiltration of run off rain water in the ponds, increased siltation (debris, rock, mud, dirt) when ponds run over unto the streets and the marine environment.
The dirt removed from the Lodi catchment is top soil. This soil is being removed, transported and stored at the landfill for future use in agriculture and for the STENAPA reforestation program.
Once all four catchments are cleaned up the Directorate of Economy and Infrastructure will expand the scope of work to include constructing dams in natural valleys and guts that channel run off rain water to the sea.
By placing these dams, the infiltration capacity of water in the ground will increase, thereby increasing the ground water table and the water capacity for agriculture, animal husbandry and reforestation (greening of St. Eustatius).
The four catchments were built in 1992 as part of the so-called Drainage Master Plan; a comprehensive plan to reduce erosion to the land and cliffs; reduce run off rain water to the sea that can affect the corals and the diversity of the marine life around the island.
The Drainage Master Plan covers the plateau area of Zeelandia to Rosemary Lane from the West coast (Lower Town) including the East coast (the former Maison sur la Plage hotel up to STUCO Solar Park). This project is sponsored through the nature funds of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and the Public Entity of St. Eustatius.