Oil spill prompts NIC to shut down Rio Cobre irrigation system

Contributed by Our Today

The National Irrigation Commission Limited (NIC) says there has been a temporary shutdown of the Rio Cobre irrigation system in St Catherine due to a reported oil spill in the area.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) on Friday, December 15, confirmed that there was an oil spill in the Bog Walk area resulting from a malfunctioning boiler from the old Jamaica Beverage Plant, now owned and operated by Trade Winds Citrus Limited.

While NEPA said that it is unable to quantify the volume of heavy fuel that has escaped, it has served an enforcement notice on Trade Winds Citrus to clean up and remediate the immediate environment surrounding the oil spill.

NEPA warned that further enforcement against the company will include legal actions.

But the NIC, in a statement on Monday, December 15, said its assessment has identified potential risks to the quality of water in the Rio Cobre, which has prompted it to take proactive measures.

“The NIC prioritises the well-being of our farmers and recognises the importance of a secure and reliable irrigation system. The temporary suspension of the Rio Cobre irrigation system is a precautionary step to safeguard against any potential adverse effects on crops and ultimately the livelihood of customers,” the NIC said.