The Road Warriors, part two

What rolls downhill


When Roatan Mayor Julio Galindo declared a fecal state of emergency in West End last year, his action spelled an eventual end to the practice of dumping untreated waste into Half Moon Bay and Mangrove Bight.

That’s a very good thing, by the way. Stopping that from happening helps the ecosystem heal and helps tourism which helps us all.

You won’t find many residents opposed to the sewer system. Most will tell you it’s long overdue.

Alvin Jackson is selling some of his own land to the municipal for the sanitation plant.

“I’ll sacrifice a third of an acre to help save the reef,” he says, “but I’ve been offered a lot of money for that swamp,” he adds.

ACME Sanitation’s Dan Taylor will not only build the plant, he’ll operate it under contract for the first year.

“It’s going to be big, durable and provide 50 years of service,” Taylor says. “It’s going to long outlast the road and power poles.”

But will the septic system act as a panacea that starts West End on a proper path? Probably not, Taylor concedes.

“I foresee that the plant and the collection system will be built, but nobody’s gonna have enough cash to connect to it.”

Hold on — does that sound like a good use of money?  Taylor sighs, “I’m going to run it for a year, turning good water into good water.” And after that? “After that, they better have their shit together.”

Literally, meet figuratively.

used to be a Chevy Suburban in there

Estimates on what each household will pay to hook up to the big septic pipe under the road vary from $500 to $1500.

Instead of caring about who will operate the plant after the first year or how to connect to the system, Taylor says, too many residents are fretting about the road itself.

“They’re worried about ants while elephants are charging down the path after them,” says Taylor. The road, he insists, will be chopped up and replaced and repaired again and again over the years.

And variables remain. Bidding hasn’t even started on the other phase of the project: building the collection network for getting the sewage to the treatment facility. But after the road to the plant is finished, Taylor says, it’ll take just a month to design and only three more to build.

So, soon enough — if you have the cash — your poop might be going to a happier place!

The unused lagoon system near the airport is nothing more than an estuary for visiting birds. Will West Enders hook up to the new system? Can they afford to?

“I want to see the blackwater system hooked up,” says Jackson, “and I would like to see the condition of the road improve. What I don’t like is that it’s now brother-against-brother, with people not speaking to each other. I’m looking for unity. Compromise. Then when it’s all done, we cut the ribbon and we have a massive canavale.”


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