|Turks & Caicos Wells|
Sandwatchers on Grand Turk Test Local Wells
The water of the North and South wells of Grand Turk seem to be polluted, because of their varying colours of green, brown and colourless.
The water of the wells was tested for: nitrates, nitrites phosphates, sulphates, lead, pesticides, dissolved oxygen, salinity, hardness, coliform bacteria, free chlorine, chlorine, chloride and alkalinity. The temperature and pH were also tested. The purpose of all the tests was to determine the source(s) of water contamination or the cause of the varying colours of the wells.
Phosphates, chloride and coliform bacteria wells were found in the water of both wells. Sulphates were found only in South wells.
The wells are contaminated by phosphates, chloride and fecal coliform. This supports the hypothesis, but not conclusively due to the limitations and sources of errors outlined at the end of the report.
CONCLUSION BASED ON HYPOTHESIS AND RESULTS
From the result of the wells tested, at the North and South wells, the water seems to be polluted by phosphates, sulphates and coliform. The dissolved oxygen in the North well and the South well varies from 0-8 ppm.
There were no nitrates, nitrites, copper, pesticides, and lead found in the water of wells tested at both sides.
Two of four wells from the North and South wells (a clean and a dirty well) were tested positive for Fecal coliform. Some of them could have been contaminated by the young children who visited and played around the wells frequently. But the most possible source of the fecal coliform contaminations is the faeces of the animals (Cows, Horses, Donkeys, Dogs, and Birds) that frequently go to the wells to graze and or to obtain water.
Some wells had a lot of algae especially the low open “cow wells” which the animals can actually go into and this is the route of contamination for these wells. A few of these wells had a phosphate concentration of 2 part per million (ppm) which contributes to which contributes to the eutrophication of these wells which could have an impact on the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water. The dissolved oxygen saturation between 71-90% saturation is considered good, but less than 50% is poor. The concentration of dissolved oxygen depends on factors such as temperature, number of organisms in water and the wind speed. The organisms in wells ten and nine in North wells well were few, like duckweed in well ten and water beetles in well nine, but the beetles came to the surface to obtain oxygen. The hardness of the water was in higher concentration at the North wells, then at South wells.
The amount of salt in the water and phosphate tend to vary with the amount of water in the wells which is affected by the amount of rainfall.
Wells are found at two different points in Grand Turk, at the South point and North point; they are called the North Wells and South Wells. The North wells are in better shape than the South wells.
The North Wells were used for Water to drink, bathe, wash clothes and water based tasks. However, the wells are not in use by humans anymore. The open wells are used by cows, horses, donkeys and birds. They are also, a tourist attraction.
There were wells for the animals and for the people. The wells for the people were higher in height so that the animals could not get in them. The wells used to be cleaned by people who were hired to do the job. For example, one person who cleaned the wells was Miss Salvia’s mother. There was no fence built around the wells. The wells were made for everyone to use, but it was used especially by the poor people because they didn’t have tanks to capture water like the rich people.
The wells were not used, as leaves started to fall into the wells. The date when wells were not used anymore is not known. Mrs. Letita Steed (also known as Mrs. Dookey) was born on January the 9th, 1922 and who is now 89 years old says she feels disappointed that the wells are no longer in use and that she would rather use the wells than the current supply of water we use today.
Another elderly citizen Mr. Arthur Been said that the Well water was used for drinking as well as for the animals (cows, horses and donkeys).
Two types of wells the open low walled wells which he called cow wells, were used for the animals. However, the smaller wells with the higher wells around them were used by the people. He said in the summer the families would go to the wells to wash clothes and have a picnic. North wells collect a lot of water because they are in between two hills. The government hired people to clean the wells to remove sediment and rocks.
According to Mrs. Eudora Williams Francis, both the set of wells (North and South) were created from underground springs. They were made for the animals to drink from while roaming in the bush. Persons, however, would go and get water to use for household chores, washing and bathing. Two of the North wells were fresh water wells and were used for drinking. The wells that were made for the animals were low enough for them to gain access. The others were built with higher walls and would rise whenever tide was high.
· Wells should be cleaned regularly as they are the only sustainable source of fresh /brackish water.
· Broken walls should be replaced on low open wells or ‘cattle wells’.
· The location of wells should be known to the public through the erection of billboards or road signs to be placed on adjacent roads.
· Regular testing should be done on water supply to ensure that if there is a need to use them as a source of drinking water (as was done in the past) the public can be confident that the water is safe.
· A few trees can be planted to provide shade.