Restaurants and other food outlets impacted by the more than yearlong sewage crisis on the south coast are being told they should not feel pressured to shut down, as the temporary fixes implemented by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) seem to be holding for the time being.
BWA Rapid Response and Communications Manager Joyann Haigh today reported that there had been no effluent on the streets for the past week and that businesses could take solace in the fact that there was progress in tackling the problem.
“We would have put the station in Bay Street online, we also took some customers offline and this is taking some of the load off the south coast sewage station and placing onto the Bridgetown sewage plant,” Haigh told Barbados TODAY while visiting affected areas this afternoon.
“The new pumps are actually taking a lot of the waste water off the streets. At the moment businesses can certainly take some confidence because even though nothing in life is certain, we are doing our best and we are highly optimistic about what has been done so far,” she stressed.
Local fast food chain Chicken Barn was forced to close its Worthing branch last month after giving up on battling raw sewage flowing into its compound for more than year, and has been performing renovations in the interim.
This afternoon Haigh revealed that the BWA was using this time to install a backflow preventer, adding that the water company was hopeful that the fast food restaurant would consider reopening its doors soon.
“Currently Chicken Barn is doing some renovations and we are taking that time to do some work on his establishment. The backflow preventer is going to be on the manhole that is located on his property and that would mean no more overflows for him. We really want to see the doors of that business reopen very soon, we want his people employed and we recognize that it was a hard blow for him. This is a prospect which a member of Chicken Barn’s management team, Adam Hyman, already said that the company would only consider once they are sure that issue of sewage flowing onto their property is fixed once and for all,” the BWA spokesperson said.
However, Haigh was reluctant to offer any guarantees that the disturbing stench and faeces would not return in the event of heavy rains, nor was she able to give a timeline for a permanent solution to the problem, which has already resulted in Canada, the United States of America and the United Kingdom issuing travel advisories, warning their citizens to take extreme caution in affected areas.
“Obviously nothing in life is guaranteed but we are highly optimistic that what we have done will hold. What we are doing however is monitoring the situation because we do have manholes on private properties that if the rain falls water would get into them. We have to speak to those owners to see what can be done, but the entire process will require some education,” Haigh said.