By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
MURKY groundwater samples were obtained on Wednesday during another drilling exercise at Pinder's Point, Grand Bahama - an area residents believe is affected by industrial pollution.
The exercise was undertaken by the Grand Bahama Environmental Association, which believes the groundwater is contaminated in that settlement.
After nearly an hour of drilling down some 14ft in the ground, no clear water emerged. The GBEA said it contacted the Department of Environmental Health Services to be present at the drilling but no one attended because a week's notice was needed as the inspector is based in Nassau.
Shuffel Hepburn, GBEA executive, collected the samples which the organisation intends to send the US for testing. It is the third drilling exercise conducted in the Pinder's Point community on property owned by the late Sherwin Cooper.
The first was conducted at Rev Michael Pinder's yard where black water samples were allegedly obtained, and the second was at Lowell Pinder's yard where orange-cloudy water samples were reportedly obtained.
"We are trying to see to what extent is the oil underground in this area," Mr Hepburn said, noting that none of the water samples obtained during the exercises were clear.
"No water was clear, it was very smelly, and that's how it is today. We could smell the hydrocarbons, the oil in the water; we had drilled at 14ft when we started to get that," he told reporters.
Mr Hepburn said the group contacted DEHS, but was informed they needed to give advance notice.
"They said they need to give him advance notice when we do this exercise," he said.
GBEA will continue to conduct other drilling exercises, which cost the organisation anywhere from $600 to $700, as well as additional funds to send the samples abroad for testing.
"We will continue with this process… investigating the effects that these industrial companies have had in these communities," pledged Mr Hepburn.
Residents of Pinder's Point/Lewis Yard and other nearby communities surrounding the industrial plants have complained of chemical emissions and water contamination for the past 30 years. They have also complained of health issues.