The Department of Environment has issued a public advisory informing all new commercial and tourism developments on North and South Ambergris Caye (outside the declared “service areas”) and those in ecologically sensitive areas, are required to invest in a proper sewage treatment system.
“The developer/investor is free to review the many types of sewage treatment systems available on the international and local market, and to select the most appropriate system for their purposes,” stated the press release from the Department of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment & Sustainable Development, August 7, 2017. “Whichever sewerage treatment system is selected, it will need to meet or exceed the Department of the Environment’s MINIMUM STANDARDS for discharges.”
This Ministry states that the initiative is being carried out with the objective of protecting Belize’s environment and the sustainability of the tourism industry. “This requirement is necessary in order to maintain our spectacular recreational waters free from possible fecal contamination.”
The traditional “septic tank” treatment system is not designed for these types of developments. In some areas, such as the coast and cayes, this system is practically non-functional because of the high permeability of the soil in these areas; thus compromising the potential recreational use of surrounding waters.
The public is hereby informed that all applications for Environmental Clearance for these types of developments, as well as developments in sensitive areas, will need to be accompanied by specifications for the chosen/selected sewage treatment system.
All Existing commercial and tourism developments in ecologically sensitive areas will also be informed of the need to decommission existing septic tank systems, within a specified time frame, and upgrade these to the above-mentioned requirement.