Minister Dr David Estwick. (FILE)
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It will cost Government $12.9 million to address the south coast sewage issues.
This was disclosed by Minister with responsibility for Water Resource Management, Dr David Estwick, during a press conference last weekend, at his Ministry’s Graeme Hall, Christ Church offices.
He said Cabinet had approached the Latin American Development Bank (CAF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank for assistance, to effect three solutions identified, following consultation with regional and international experts.
“[These are] the injection wells and the two by-pass systems and the injection well with pre-treatment. We think these are the best options that we have available.
We have moved to Cabinet requesting certain funding and we have had some assurances of funding from the CAF. We’re hoping to be able to mobilise those funds very shortly so we can start effecting the work I just outlined,” Dr Estwick stated, adding that geotechnical tests were being conducted ahead of drilling the wells.
According to the Minister, the CAF had approved “a $4 million advance”, while the IDB was in discussion with the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to finalise its funding arrangement.
Dr Estwick explained that based on the recent tests and CCTV imaging carried out on the network by the BWA and a team of consultants, there were three major challenges affecting the system.
“One, there are obstructions on the carrier line or the gravity fed line – this is the line bringing sewage from all of the connections into the plant. [There are] breaks in that line, as well as the infiltration [of both fresh and sea water] into that line. Two, rupture of the force main line which carries sewage from the effluent pumps to the outfall and three, the impact of that is recirculation of sewage that should be pumped out to the ocean coming back into the carrier line and backing up behind the blocked areas, therefore flowing through the manholes or circulating back to the plant,” he outlined.
As it relates to the sewage overflows, Dr Estwick said this was due to the rupturing of the 10-inch pump by foreign objects, such as towels and meat packaging. He added that authorities had ordered a new 10-inch pump, which had to be custom-built and was expected to be in the island next week. The six-inch pump, which also failed, was also being repaired.
He also empathised with affected residents and businesses, and gave the assurance that the BWA was working assiduously to rectify the problem, although he could not give a timeline as to when the matter would be completely resolved.
“Right now, I’m a little unsure of the time frames because as you are digging wells you don’t know what you may find, so I think we could be looking at three or six months for a sort of complete solution. But that doesn’t help persons who are now suffering from the problems. [Relief] will come when the second pump arrives in Barbados and we have the other 10-inch pump repaired,” Dr Estwick assured.
He promised to provide an update on the situation as soon as possible. (BGIS)