The Water and Sewerage Authority was formed by Act 16 of 1965 and enacted on September 1st, 1965. This Act brought together several agencies, which were formerly charged with the responsibility of providing water and sewerage facilities to the nation. These are as follows:
- Central Water Distribution Authority
- Port of Spain City Council
- San Fernando Borough Council
- Arima Borough Council
- County Councils
- Water Division of the Ministry of Public Utilities
- Sanitation Division of the Ministry of Public Utilities
The first underground sewerage system was constructed in Port of Spain. It was designed to collect wastewater from public baths and washhouses for discharge into the sea in the area of the present port of Port of Spain. These sewers would later become part of the network serving the greater Port of Spain area leading to the Beetham Treatment Plant.
A Low Level Sewer along Wrightson Road and a Pumping Station at Mucurapo were constructed. These developments marked an early step in moving away from the reliance of the outhouse in the city.
With the establishment of a Port of Spain Sewerage Board and the need to maintain a healthy environment and to ensure proper waste disposal, Dr. J. R. Dickson was appointed as the first Sanitary Inspector.
One of the Earliest Private WWTPsThe Sangre Grande Hospital Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) was set up.
Lock Joint (America Ltd.) completed a million-dollar island wide Sewerage Extension Project in 1966.The project involved the installation of over 320 kilometers of street sewers and 5,000 manholes in San Fernando, Arima and Port-of-Spain.
A major Sewerage Report on Tobago by Attas and Defour Consulting Engineers recommended the establishment of sewerage facilities in three regions of Tobago.
The construction of a number of Junior Secondary and Senior Comprehensive Schools beginning in the mid-70's with their own wastewater facilities, would add to the growing list of WWTPs throughout the country.
The Scarborough Wastewater Treatment Plant was completed. This project was one of the most significant investments in the island’s wastewater sector and was designed to treat wastewater from a population of 10,000. This plant is owned and operated by WASA.
The Greater Port-of-Spain Sewerage System Study (GPOSSSS) was undertaken to determine sewerage needs to the year 2030.The study sought to determine the most cost effective location for a regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and to make recommendations for the treatment process to be used at that site.
1999 saw public outcry over the numerous non-functioning privately owned WWTP's scattered across the country. An adoption model was developed to lay the foundation for a massive adoption drive.
Recognizing the need to greatly expand sewage facilities to meet stringent environmental standards, work commenced on a new multi million-dollar Beetham Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The new Beetham WWTP began to treat domestic waste. It is the first WASA facility to utilize ultra violet radiation to disinfect plant effluent. The plant serves customers within Greater Port-of Spain and environs from Pt. Cumana in the west to Mt. Hope in the east including Diego Martin and Maraval and effluent from this plant meets environmental.
On September 1st 2004, WASA assumed responsibility for 38 WWTP's previously owned and operated by the National Housing Authority (N.H.A.) now Housing Development Corporation (H.D.C.) the Land Settlement Agency, Sugar Welfare and UdeCott.
Coming out of a study undertaken by SAFEGE of France six (6) regional WWTP's are planned for the East-West corridor. These plants will ultimately lead to the elimination of numerous small WWTP's that are currently in operation. Upon the completion of these and other projects in the wastewater sector the Authority hopes to provide wastewater coverage to 75% of the population by 2015.