by Neville Clarke
Don’t blame contractors for rotten water mains that rupture.
That was the reaction of Managing Director of Ajax Construction, Ronald Robinson, to charges that his company had burst a water main in Warrens, St. Michael causing tens of thousands of gallons of water to spill for more than five hours on Wednesday afternoon.
Robinson, whose company is currently trenching in the area for the installation of utility services, charged that all over Barbados contractors were faced with water mains that were so badly rotted that the moment soil was removed from around them they started to leak.
In Wednesday’s edition of Barbados TODAY a Barbados Water Authority supervisor on the site of the broken Warrens main complained that very often contractors began excavation without notifying the authority, and end up rupturing pipes.
When questioned about the procedure for undertaking such trenching or other excavation, especially on or beside roadways, Corporate Communications Specialist at the BWA, Joy-Ann Haig, stressed that management of construction companies usually contacted the Capital Works Department of the authority to familiarise themselves with the blueprint of the section of road on which they were working.
She added: “Not only construction companies, but utility companies such as the Barbados Light & Power Company, the National Petroleum Corporation and the telecommunications companies usually contact the Capital Works Department to familiarise themselves with the blueprint for the area where trenching is being carried out.”
Haig pointed out that if the department was not notified, the company responsible would bill for all repairs done to BWA mains.
However, in relation to the Warrens main break, Robinson denied that he failed to notify officials at BWA that his company was carrying out excavation work in the area.
Robinson said: “I called senior superintendent at the BWA, Grantley Phillips, and told him that the main was rotten and dripping at the joint. Superintendent Blades came and looked at the main and discovered that the main was rotten. My company cannot be responsible for damaging a main that was already leaking.”
The veteran contractor pointed out that he had been in the business for the past 20 years, and he had discovered that all over Barbados mains are leaking, spilling gallons of water into the soil.
He further claimed that a 16 inch main at Consett Bay, St. John, had been leaking for the past seven years and nothing had been done to correct the problem.
“Gallons of water now provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes at Consett Bay, and during my submissions to the call in programmes I attempted to draw the attention of BWA officials to the situation, but nothing has been done to correct the problem.
“If you pass on Green Hill you would also see water flowing all over the road. There are many rotten mains all across the country,” Robinson charged.
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