Strange Stinky Water Coming From Taps In Bathsheba – BWA Puts Callers On Ignore


Barbados Free Press Receives Requests For Help From Eleven Different Bathsheba Homes

Folks, in the last few days we have received eleven emails from readers in the Bathsheba area complaining about stinky water coming from the taps. Some describe the smell as “almost like chlorine” while others say it is a chemical or oily smell but definitely not chlorine. All report inaction and indifference on the part of the Barbados Water Authority.

What is the extent of the problem and how long has it been going on? Can anyone report that the BWA has been out to test any taps?

Here are some excerpts from the emails…

“I live in the Bathsheba area of St Joseph. We got home tonight and our water is stinking of chlorox/chlourine or something. It’s so strong it made my eyes water when I bent over to smell it! I phoned BWA and told the man who answered the phone. He sounded fairly uninterested and said there was no one he could tell, I told him we can’t drink this or bathe in this and was I supposed to pay for my water twice, as I would have to go and buy bottled water? no reply, so I asked him if he would pass on my complaint, he said yes, I asked him for his name and he put the phone down!!!!!!! Great PR.

I complained a week or so ago when the smell was so strong, and was told it was ‘in the pipe now’ it made our skin itch and have had sores on our faces. Surely they measure a certain amount of whatever this is to go in the water? I am now off to the shop to buy water to drink and wash in, guess who’s paying for that……..”

“What a stink it is not clorine. Chemical almost like oil.”

“My neighbour came home and also called, he’d got in the shower to bathe and got straight out again, he was given the number 433 1812 to call, they say they have to go and find someone to check…… “

“BWA say tomorrow or next day they come…”

“(the water from the tap) is oily and smells bad”

“… can’t get a answer from BWA…”

“They (BWA) say lots of complaints an they will get to it ‘sometime’ ”


Filed under Barbados, Health

19 responses to “Strange Stinky Water Coming From Taps In Bathsheba – BWA Puts Callers On Ignore

  1. John

    It would be interesting to know which part of St. Joseph.

    From the maps I have from the Stanley Water Resources Report there seem to be four different supply areas.

    The highest elevation is on top of the cliff and gets its water from Sweet Vale and Bowmanston pumping stations.

    South of this area gets its water from Sweet Vale, Bowmanston and believe it or not Heymans!!

    There are two areas under the cliff.

    One area gets its water only from springs, Newcastle and Codrington and looks to be from Martins Bay down to the East Coast Road.

    A second area from Martins Bay to Consett gets its water from Bowmanston and believe it or not Heymans!!

    I know from reading the Senn Report of 1946 that after heavy rainfall mud appears in Bowmanston well.

    That means that there is rapid flow of water from the surface to the well, with inadequate time for bacteria to die.

    The catchment area for Bowmanston includes Clifton Hall, Pool, Hothersall and Wakefield.

    Hopefully no bright spark in the Government will come up with the idea of putting golf courses up there!!

    It may be that the water at Bowmanston needs to be disinfected more after the recent heavy rains.

    If the situation as depicted in the 1978 Stanley report pertains, that would mean that the only part of St. Joseph not affected would be below the cliff between Martins Bay and the East Coast Road.

    St. John should also be affected and possibly parts of St. Thomas.

    I am really only guessing from the maps and charts I have from the Stanley report.

  2. John

    If it is only the Bathsheba area it is possible the chlorination of the water from the springs may be the issue.

    If it is the whole of St. Joseph, Bowmanston would be the most likely explanation.

  3. Rumplestilskin

    Interesting stuff John, Thanks.

  4. Sundowner

    We’re in St Elizabeth Village and have the same problems, and the same response from the BWA. We phoned last night as well and were told to phone Bowmanston, didn’t get any results though, I’m going to phone back this morning. I have dry itchy patches on my face – very nice – my Dr said it was ‘enviromental’ ! We ‘rinse’ with bottled water after we bathe or our skin itches all the time.

  5. John


    St. Elizabeth is under the cliff.

    If the plan for supply remains as per the 1978 Stanley Report then it probably is the Springs.

    I believe Bowmanston personnel would be responsible for these as they are locked and untended in normal use.

    The spring in Newcastle woods was the first source of Public Water Supply to Bridgetown back in the 1860’s.

    There has been in the past problems with the dumping of garbage over the cliff up by Clifton Hall. It happens because people do not understand the proximity of the spring source to the cliff edge.

    I think however it sounds like the chlorination of the water needs to be checked.

    Visit Bowmanston and ask to see how you get your water.

    The more awareness there is of just how fragile our water supply is the better the chance people will be more considerate with the dumping of their garbage and building of their houses.

  6. Farmer

    Maybe the residents should contact Dale Miller

  7. John


    Is he still around?

  8. Sundowner

    I phoned the General Managers office this morning, Dennis Yearwood, and told them what was happening – or not happening, – and am waiting to hear back from them.

  9. Bush Tea

    Tight!!! John.

    Well put, logical and informative. No wonder I like to read (and lock horns with you in) your posts…

  10. J. Payne

    Iewww it is probably coming form the very bottom of the well or— somebody’s suckwell get tie into the drinking water.

  11. Sundowner

    Well, surprise surprise I didn’t get a call back from Dennis Yearwoods office on Friday, so I called again on Monday, left a number and , surprise surprise I didn’t get a call back, third time lucky I’ll try again today!

  12. John

    Guess you can continue the cat and mouse game.

    Some of you go to Bowmanston and ask to be told and/or shown how you get your water.

    Explain your problem to the people on the spot. They may give you an explanation and apology …. on the spot.

    They may want to talk with their seniors before talking to you, but I think they will address your concerns.

    You have a problem which you should not have and they are there to fix it.

    There are very competent people at BWA.

    It doesn’t have to be confrontational.

    You can learn something and they can learn something too.

  13. Warrior

    Has this water problem been fixed yet? Has an explanation been given and at least some apology or refund?

  14. Sundowner

    I called the General Managers office again yesterday morning and actually got to speak to him, though he obviously hadn’t been given my previous messages as he had no idea what I was talking about! He said he would contact a tech’ which he did as he was on the phone a few moments later. He said he was given a message last week about a complaint and had had the levels of chlorine checked and what was the problem now? I explained there was no problem now I was still trying to get a response to the complaints made by a lot of people last week. He was very pleasant and said he’d sent someone to check the levels again, and went into a long explanation about bacteria and heavy rains, which I quite understand. I did tell him the smell was oily as well as chlorine, it had also happened before the heavy rains, and people had skin problems as a result, I didn’t get a response to that, also the line was bad and I didn’t get his name. If we have further problems I’ll call again. Once you get to speak to the right people they are helpful, but why can’t anyone ever call you back to let you know whats going on?

  15. pocomanjam2

    What was the outcome of the problem?

  16. Sundowner

    I spoke to a Mr Alex Ifill about the problem, he said they tested the chlorine levels and due to the complaints there wasn’t enough chlorine in the water! Since then they have come to take samples to test bacteria levels etc and I’m waiting to hear the results.
    Personally we’ve bought a water jug with a filter and WOW the water tastes so much better!! use it for drinking and ice. Whenever the chlorine levels are up and the water is white, I and others suffer varying degrees of skin problems, from itchy skin to rashes. Looks like I’m allergic to chlorine- strange though always OK as a child in heavily chlorinated swimming pools. I’ll let you know the results of the tests.

  17. Sundowner

    I’ve just spoken to Mr Ifill about the test results, they took tests in June after all the complaints and again in July. The results are no oil/grease residue and no bacteria, which is good news. But what was causing the problem? they have no idea.

  18. J. Payne

    Now in a first world country all the BWA would have to do is tell people to catch a small sample of this water in a clean bottle. (Perhaps a soda pop bottle) that they’ve washed out clean and then— take it to the BWA for testing or they could to a mass pickup of sample water from the neighbourhood.

  19. Sharda


    Your posts are quite interesting and informative. I’ve read a couple. I’m about to conduct a study at Bathsheba and would like to contact you. How can I do so?