Residents and businesses in and around Shermans, St Peter are upset about the amount of water that is being wasted due to frequent burst mains in the area, and are appealing to the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to find a permanent fix to the problem.
In giving his assessment of the situation, Manager of Little Good Harbour hotel Trevor Parris reported that “in the last six to eight months, we have had ten to 12 burst mains in the area.
“The water has damaged some of our bathroom facilities, including the faucets, and we have had to replace lots of them. The road is in such a bad state that when the rain falls, the debris goes into the drainage and we have to clear that. Then, all the dust goes into the rooms and we have the maids working extra long hours to clean that up,” he said, adding that with the hotel expecting full occupancy within the next couple of weeks, its guests, who are mostly repeat visitors, “will be disappointed to see it like this”.
However, one resident, who declined to give his name, suggested that the problem has been ongoing “for more than a year now”.
“[BWA crews] have been digging up the road . . . repairing burst mains, but as soon as they complete one section, another pipe bursts and they have to come back and repair that,” he said, estimating that it was “about 23 times they have done that now”.
Another frustrated resident, Len Broomes, described the situation as “ridiculous”, while accusing the BWA of wasting taxpayers’ money and of seeking to resolve the problem in the wrong way.
“Rather than maintain plastic right through, they are cutting out the metal piece that bursts and putting in a piece of plastic. After that, another metal piece bursts, they come and replace that, and the cycle continues,” he said, adding that “it is ridiculous how they are doing business. It is costing the Government and the taxpayers more that way”.
When Barbados TODAY visited the area on Wednesday, there were at least two large pools of water settled in the road, posing challenges for motorists.
Residents also pointed to a large body of stagnant water in an area where they said the BWA had just recently carried out some remedial work.
Giles Bointon, who recently relocated from the United Kingdom, is therefore suggesting that it would make more sense for the BWA to stop with the patchwork and repair the leaky system “in one go”.
“They have the kit, why don’t they just get on with it and put a stop to this issue once and for all?” he asked.
To make matters worse, Bointon’s wife Lynn complained to Barbados TODAY that “we had raw sewage coming down behind the church two weeks ago, and we asked the owners [of the Fish Pot restaurant] to clean it because we thought it might have been a grease trap issue. However, we do not think anything happened because the smell is still there.
“Our children are coming in from the UK [on Wednesday], and what will they think if they come in and have to deal with raw sewage in the road? They need to sort this out because it is a real health risk,” she added.
However, Parris, who also operates the Fish Pot restaurant, said he was “surprised” to hear that there was a problem of sewage. He explained that the pipes at the back of the restaurant carried kitchen water to two wells located behind Little Good Harbour hotel.
“We have two workers who check the grease trap twice a day and clear it, bag the waste and a truck comes to take it away. Sometimes we get overflows when the sea level rises but this is rare. When we set up the tank, we got approval from the health inspectors at the Maurice Byer Polyclinic and we try to make sure everything is done properly and effectively. We also have a system in place to monitor leaks and if any are detected, we take care of them immediately,” he said.
When contacted, BWA Corporate Communications Manager Joy Ann Haigh did not address the sewage report, but said the authority was aware of the water leaks and its engineering department was actively investigating the matter with a view to advising residents and businesses in the area on the actions it would take to resolve the problem.