Barbados Long Beach Development: Sewage treatment ponds called “creation of wetlands” !!!

No wonder the developers haven’t put the environmental reports on the internet!

Friends, I am no environmental expert but I suspect that many of our readers have professional knowledge in this area and I would appreciate their input.

I’ve just started reading portions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report – Non-Technical Summary for the proposed commercial and hotel development at Long Beach – courtesy of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary that posted some of the reports online.

Aside from the issue of why these critical reports were NOT posted online by either the Government of Barbados or the developers, I have come across something in my first ten minutes that mek de hairs on my neck stand on end!

Throughout the beginning of the report the developers use language designed to cater to the environmentally conscious. They use terms and phrases like…

– Environmental Estate
– eco friendly
– integrated resort community
– in harmony with the rich ecological setting
– enhancing the environmental and visual amenities of the area
– nurturing and protecting
– creating… new wetlands
– environmentally sensitive
– enhance and maintain the existing natural physical environs

Like saying the environmentally-in-fashion words is the same as making it happen.

Not to mention that this development will offer “Improved security should lead to significant reduction in crime on the site”

(Talk about riding on the back of murdered tourist…)

AND they make a BIG DEAL that they will be expanding the “wetlands” so that the birds and animals can thrive. It all sounds so good and clean and WHOLESOME!!!

But when you read a little further and really think about what the developers have said, it boils down to this…

The Long Beach developers propose building ponds to treat the raw sewage from the commercial, hotel and residential project. They portray these sewage treatment ponds as “creating new wetlands” for the birds and wildlife.


There is no sewage system in this area, so any large development has to build and maintain its own sewage treatment plant and facilities. In order to sanitize this fact, the developers are describing sewage ponds as “wetlands” and wildlife habitats.

Developers will fill in existing wetlands

As I understand page 9 of the Non-Technical Summary, the developers propose to fill in (they say “reclaim” like they had it in the first place and it was taken away) 2.5 ha – 6.2 acres of existing wetland habitat.

In return, they will create 4 hectares of “wetland (“lake area”).

What is this “wetland lake area” the developers propose?

A sewage treatment pond…

“To compensate for the 2.5 ha of wetland loss, approximately 4 ha of wetland (“lake area”) would be constructed. The constructed wetland would:

i) Store water during periods of heavy precipitation, thereby reducing flooding.
ii) Further treat effluent from the wastewater treatment plant.
iii) Provide open water areas for resident and migratory wetland birds.”

If you read the report the liquid in this lake is such that they promise to keep human beings away from it.


How Much Poop? !!!

How much “solid waste” (that’s “poop” for the uninitiated) will be created by the development?

Almost four million kilos per year!

How do the developers propose to dispose of this waste?

According to what I’ve read so far, the developers will build a sewage treatment plant with various aerated tanks, and then route the effluent (read “remaining liquid poop”) to these “wetland lakes” they are creating that are otherwise known as “settling ponds”.

According to the report the development intends to “dilute” the remaining liquid shit poop to “acceptable” levels before it is released into the environment…

“The advanced treatment plant should consistently treat wastewater to high nutrient removal standards. The further dilution of treated effluent with captured storm water in the lake should reduce nutrient concentrations to levels acceptable for disposal to the wetland area and ultimately the marine environment.”

Let me put it in a really short form that you can understand:

Take raw liquid and solid shit poop from the project. Let it settle. Truck away what solids are possible. Dilute the rest of the raw liquid sewage with rain water. Put it into the “wetlands”. Let it seep through the “wetlands” into the water table and the ocean.

Four million “solid” kilos per year – assuming the developers aren’t deliberately understating this figure. And the quality of the “diluted” output is entirely dependent upon the developers continuing to spend the money to meet the standards they have promised in the report. There is a whole testing and disposal regime that they PROMISE to adhere to. Really. Honest.

Will the developers or future owners take a little chance once in a while and vent the whole shitty mess to the sea at night when there is a storm and nobody will go to the beach? Do you trust them? Do you trust them in ten years? Do you trust the government to effectively monitor the operation?

And according to the report they are going to look after the nesting turtles at Long Beach too!

Okay folks, that’s my first impression. I’ve only read a few pages.

Tell me I shouldn’t be concerned…

An darlin’? Mek me an tonic an gin. Double if you please. Cud dear… Ah need it after reading dis report!

Further Reading

Public Service Announcement: Portions of Environmental Impact Assessment Posted

[Bridgetown, BARBADOS]  As a public service and for reference, the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary has temporarily posted several portions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIA) for the proposed Long Beach development within the Long Beach wetland in Barbados.

Attempts are being made to obtain the remainder of the EIA document.

Sanctuary officials have been interested in the outcome at Long Beach, as both Graeme Hall and Long Beach are traditional wetland conservation areas on the South Coast.

No color map images from the Report are currently available to the Sanctuary.


Filed under Barbados, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Real Estate, Wildlife

16 responses to “Barbados Long Beach Development: Sewage treatment ponds called “creation of wetlands” !!!

  1. Kammie

    You can now read my column in the Friday Nation Swimming Upstream which started today. Your comments via the email are appreciated. I will entertain any suggested concerns you wish for me to write on.

  2. Kammie

    The Future Centre Trust has started a petition against the destruction of the Chancery Lane Wetland. This property should not be allowed to be developed at the expense of wildlife,citizens or for the benefit of a few at our expense. Your support is needed in disseminating information on this petition. PRO Future Centre Trust

  3. google is your friend

    Frightening :-{

  4. Red Lake Lassie

    Barbados needs this kind of development like a fish needs a bicycle.

  5. Green Monkey

    Do you trust the government to effectively monitor the operation?

    Er, no, not in the least. Hope that answers your question.

  6. Prince of Barbados/BajanPrince

    This is a shame!!!! Not suprising though, I would like to say that i would like to sign the petition by the Future Centre Trust can anyone send me the link? We also need to be also very concerned about the proposed development for Foul Bay. When will all of this senseless development and destruction of Barbados’ most beautiful locations stop??? And why aren’t bajans in REVOLT right about now. This trend has been going on for about 20 years and will never stop until some extreme action is taken. Now I am only 15 and dont even live in de island, BUT i love and care about it just as much so if i was down dey, I would be getttin on BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And would be willing to take any consequences de CORRUPT governement throws at me. It is time for not only Bajans to wake up but de whole entire Caribbean, and de WHOLE WORLD to see what is happening to OUR earth!!!

  7. Nostradamus

    No worries friends of the environment. Hear Dr. Lowe, our highly regarded and esteemed Minister of The Environment in this extract from a BGIS release.

    “My Ministry, through the Natural Heritage Department (NHD), which has responsibility for biodiversity activities across the island, is responsibility for ensuring that our country’s biodiversity and habitats – that is, our plant and animal species, and the places where they live – are managed efficiently. To this end, the NHD is spearheading the celebration of International Year for Biodiversity, where the world is invited to take action in 2010 to safeguard this important variety of life on the earth,” Dr. Lowe indicated.”

    We can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the NHD will be front and centre vigorously ensuring that the biodiversity and habitats at Chancery Lane are properly protected! LOL.

  8. Chris Peachment

    The above comments makes interesting if strident reading. I have also read the copies of the EIA sections that are available on the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary site and referenced in the article footer.

    First some background. I use the Long Beach shoreline and backing swamp as a walking area at least once a week. I have been doing so for the past two years, with intermittent use during the prior 10 years. It gives me a good opportunity to view the seasonal changes, as well as human introduced changes over time.

    I am a software engineer and a residential house designer/draftsman. I am not a civil or structural engineer but there are many times when an inquisitive mind and technical background are enough to permit reasoned analysis of available evidence.

    The swamp is dry at the moment. This is not the first time I have seen it in this state. I’ve also had the pleasure of wading in water up to my knees (but never deeper) in that swamp during past wet seasons.

    Despite my personal misgivings about building on a sand base, my reading of the above-mentioned documents suggests that the developer’s intentions would make a positive contribution to the Long Beach shoreline and wetlands.

    Past efforts at beach cleanup by groups such as the Future Centre Trust are commendable but are needed on a continuing basis to remove the jetsam arriving on a daily basis from foreign waters. Such efforts have little impact on the dumping of garbage by Barbadian residents in the wetlands. Only continued human presence and a change of mindset about the acceptability of “fouling your own nest” will eliminate such activities.

    The southern end of the wetlands has been occupied for many years by a residential development and there is continued building on vacant lots therein. The Long Beach Hotel on the cliff at the north end was demolished a couple of years ago, so a new hotel taking advantage of the local beauty would be a continuation of historical usage.

    The published documentation states there will be continued public access large parts of the wetlands and, of course, all of the beach. Nobody is interested in removing the dunes because that would destroy the value of everything behind them. Even stepping off the tracks into the dry areas of the wetlands is rarely done except by the sheep farmers who harvest the grass as feed. I’ve stepped off a few times and its hard work slogging through uneven ground and high grass.

    It has been shown many times and many places that the best way to ensure continued availability of natural resources is to have persons with direct interest in their existence. That means private, not government, investment.

    The failure of extreme socialism around the world is a demonstration of the dead hand of government intervention when it goes beyond setting rules for the common good that serve to moderate extreme capitalism. We’ve learned a few things in the past 150 years since the Industrial Revolution got under way.

  9. BadBob

    All in favor of creating “Wetlands” on the property of our leading big-wigs, begin saving “effluent” in large containers for a Midnight Run past likely candidates homes.

  10. New Facebook group

    Also copy and paste following;

    Dear Friends,

    I have just read and signed the online petition:

    “Petition to OPPOSE the Proposed Development at Long Beach, Christ Church T&CDP APPLICATION NO. 2656/08/2006E”

    hosted on the web by, the free online petition
    service, at:

    I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might
    agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider
    signing yourself.

    Best wishes,



  12. Chris Scheffler

    Effluent is treated water. It has been cleaned of 95+% of its contaminants and is safe for release in to any water body. The plants in a wetland will further reduce nutrients leaving 99.9% pure water for the lake. Go drink your bottled water, drive your prius, and shutup.

  13. Oh Chris

    Chris Scheffler does not understand the original promise that the government of Barbados made to preserve the Long Beach wetland.

    Chris Scheffler thinks that preserving lands and biodiversity through mechanical sewage treatment is an acceptable conservation method.

    Chris Scheffler would have the residents of Chancery Lane listen to the drone of air conditioning from the new development instead of the sounds of the wind and the sea.

    Chris Scheffler is a friend of Taan Abed.

    We could go on and on.

  14. Pingback: Barbados Citizens taking action against development-at-any-cost business and political elites « Barbados Free Press

  15. Hallo, I’m a constructed wetland designer. I use this natural technology to develop green treatment systems. I don’t understand which is the problem in Long Beach, please anybody can summarize it to me?
    I use this system for the treatment of human and industrial wastewaters, it is a good and low cost way, save energy and the effluent is really clean to discharge on sea or other natural waters.
    In the past were used natural wetlands but now, in 2010, is not more possible to send dirty waters in natural wetland ecosystems.
    In Caribbean and tropical area exist a lot of constructed wetland systems. I write a paper about it in the 2007 CWWA Conference.
    Please could you summarize the problems in Barbados Long Beach. May Be I can help you in order to undertake possible solutions.
    In my blog I report a lot of good treatment wetland systems:
    Also UNEP with the paper ” UNEP environmentally sound technologies for Caribbean Islands” write about the use of treatmen wetland systems..I summarize it in my blog.
    Best regards