The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) has acknowledged that it is in a race against time to put an end to the vexing sewage mess that continues to plague the south coast, before the start of the winter tourist season.
Manager of the BWA’s Waste Water Division Patricia Inniss told Barbados TODAY that two new trash pumps – used to control the wastewater entering the sewerage plant at St Lawrence, Christ Church – are expected to be on the island in two weeks.
As Inniss apologized “profusely” this morning for yet another flare-up of overflowing drains at the weekend, she said the authority had been experiencing headaches of one kind or another with the various pumps that manage the wastewater levels in the network.
“The reality is that we have reinforced the effluent pumps. That is not the concern. The [state of the] influent pumps is the concern right now. The influent pumps are the two screw-lift pumps that we are trying to get repaired, but the auxiliary pumps to help the screw-lift pumps or trash pumps, we never factored in those with all of the monies from the BTI [Barbados Tourism Investment Inc] and then two months ago, they crashed,” Inniss explained.
The water company official noted that since that failing, the state agency had been renting temporary replacement pumps which also broke down.
“We have ordered two new trash pumps to the tune of many, many thousand of dollars; they should be coming in here very, very soon. So in the meantime, we have been renting. We have been renting pumps not even as strong as the ones we are ordering, but the pumps that we have been renting, they have been failing. So that’s why the [wastewater] levels have been sputtering back and forth for right now. But we are putting in as much auxiliary pumping as we can. So we’re hoping that in another two weeks those trash pumps would be there so that we don’t have this problem, especially when the tourist season is full in,” she added.
Inniss said the rented pumps had since been repaired and she was hoping they would hold up, especially in light of the heavy rains being experienced lately.
“We are not getting any major overflows., but you don’t want to see any kind of bubbling [in the drainage system], so we are dealing with that. We are trying to stop that. You would notice we had a whole lot of rain today and there has been no problem because we are fighting the situation. We could not have envisaged that the two auxiliary pumps would have failed,” she said, adding that her division had been meeting today to determine what more could be done to keep the situation under control until a permanent solution is found.
“We are very sorry to the Barbadians and the business places. I can tell you that the residents in Christ Church and the business persons are so understanding of the situation and trying to help us. But we, of course, for them and for us, that is not good enough, because, especially one or two hotels, we don’t want that come December, we have any of this situation.”
The water company executive added that other steps were being taken to bring sustained relief to those on the sewage network.
These include the installation of backflow preventers to insulate systems with this problem from the network; flow meters to determine the rate at which water enters the system, and the use of ground penetrating radar and closed circuit television to improve inspection, she said.