City plant under pressure
While Government is still trying to find a solution to the South Coast sewage problems, it also has to focus urgent attention on the Bridgetown Sewage Treatment Plant as well.
Yesterday general manager of the Barbados Water Authority, Keithroy Halliday, delivered the grim news that equipment had also failed at the Bridgetown plant at Lakes Folly, The City, and if immediate action was not taken it would result in significant problems in four to six weeks.
He also announced that it would take more than $12 million to deal with the issues.
Halliday was speaking at yesterday’s Press conference at Government Headquarters, which was chaired by Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
Halliday said the equipment had failed because of the pressure placed on it after effluent from the South Coast was diverted there.
“We activated one of the lift stations from Bay Street as part of our mitigation measures to divert some of the effluent to the Bridgetown Sewage Treatment Plant. The danger of that is that it would have put more pressure on our Bridgetown sewage system and we have seen the reality of that coming to bear, in the sense that our equipment has been tapped.
“The way the plant functions as a secondary treatment plant is that there are really two main tanks . . . . What we have discovered is the equipment is beginning to fail significantly. One of the tanks is not working at the moment and the other one is beginning to fail.
Pointing out that the money required was “significant”, Halliday disclosed that $12 million would be required in order to rehabilitate the plant “in its most basic sense”.
“This however does not address some of the other issues such as the fire [that happened] in the staff room and some of the other ancillary works that have to be done. This does not allow us to carry the system fully back into a secondary stage. This only allows us to make sure that the system does not collapse around us,” he said.
Noting that the Bridgetown plant had been “hobbling along for some time”, Halliday said: “We are at the point if we do not take immediate action we would have a significant problem in two to four weeks time”.
In response, a clearly agitated Mottley laid blame at the feet of the former administration.
“This is a dire situation,” she noted.
“I am lost for words at how one Government could have presided over the utter destruction of Barbados’ infrastructure and systems as this last Government did for the most part of the last five to six years. If you do not spend money to maintain a house things start to break down in that house. It is as basic as that,” she said.
Continuing, Mottley charged that the Democratic Labour Party Government had “misplaced priorities and mixed up attitudes”.
“What we have now is the cumulative impact of a Government that went missing in action, that was lost, that was more concerned with the issuance of tax concessions and contracts than it was in maintaining systems for ordinary Barbadians to be able to function.
“When you can waive $333 000 for a Mercedes coupé for a Hyatt that has not even broke ground yet, but yet you can’t find the money to sort out the South Coast and the Bridgetown sewage and the most basic things after a fire, then you begin to understand this was a case of misplaced priorities, mixed up attitudes. This is the unkindest cut of all for the people of Barbados.” (MB)