Local taxpayers forked out $33,520 to rectify, or begin to address the brown water problem that plagued residents in Prospect and Cedar Park in Devonshire.

Public Works Minister Craig Cannonier made the disclosure in the House of Assembly on Friday, in response to Parliamentary Questions by Opposition MP Dennis Lister.

Since the first complaint was made in December 2015, the Minister said 44 customer complaints have been recorded. Mr Lister wanted to know how many times the residents affected by the brown water problem were contacted by the Ministry since December 2012.

“The specific customers that lodged a complaint have been informed of the status of the field investigation and the work undertaken if required,” said Mr Cannonier.

He noted that written correspondence dated April 15, 2016, was sent out to “all customers indicating what investigations had determined and what the Ministry intended to do to remedy the issue.

“The works described in the letter were curried out and they have remedied the discoloration issue that had been affecting the area,” he added.

Asked for the total cost to date, the Minister replied: “Approximately $33,520 has been spent to date on the main’s bypass which has remedied the issues of the discoloured water.

Mr Cannonier said: “A further $500k is planned for required infrastructure upgrades, related to the pressure and flow of water but not the quality.”

He also noted that there have been “periodic complaints about water quality immediately after service interruptions for decades”.

“This issue historically had been attributed to debris in the supply lines and the discolouration would always clear up soon after service was restored,” he said.

“As a matter of procedure, the Water and Sewage Section always sends technical personnel to the site when they are contacted directly about a customer water quality complaint.

“This continues to be the practice,” said Mr Cannonier. “The records of these instances and the specific number of visits are not recorded as no work was performed.

“The earliest documented work related to brown water occurred in the autumn of 2015.”

Last month he refuted claims that the “brown water” represents a “recurring health hazard”. This after Opposition MPs Diallo Rabain and Dennis Lister and called on Government to address the serious issues with the ongoing ‘brown water’.

The problem was attributed the issue to the deterioration of cast iron piping installed in the 1970s.

But he denied that the brown water was unsafe to consume.

By Ceola Wilson