Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Dr David Estwick is promising Barbadians relief, from the long running sewage crisis on the south coast, in the next three to six months.
He said Government had given the go ahead to fast track the, medium term strategy of, digging of several injection wells in which to divert the waste.
“As soon those projects are close to completion I would get back to the public. Right now I am a little unsure of the time, because as you are digging wells you don’t know what you are going to find, but I can say that we would be looking at the next three to six months for the completion of those solutions,” Estwick said during press conference at his ministry’s headquarters in Graeme Hall, Christ Church, which was also attended by top personnel of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) including General Manager Keithroy Halliday.
“The proposed solution of the injection wells and the two bypass systems are the best options we have available. We have moved to Cabinet requesting funding and we have had some assurances by the Latin American Bank (CAF) and we are hoping to be able to mobilise those funds very shortly so that we can start the work that we have just outlined. In fact I have been informed that geological testing for the wells have started and is ongoing,” the Minister added.
Earlier this week Halliday told Barbados TODAY that the interim measures to control the problem had failed and that the 300-foot wells had to be implemented as a matter of urgency.
However Estwick said while the option was far from ideal it was the best temporary alternative at the moment.
“We are talking about a temporary measure that allows us time to get into the distribution system to be able to determine the permanent fix. I would want to say for those persons who may have concerns, in regards to the strategy, that the treatment that will occur includes chlorination as well as effective screening, so that you don’t compromise the diffusion capacity of the zone in which you discharge your treated sewage,” he explained.
He maintained that there was little that could be done, other than the schedule pumping of the compromised manholes, to minimise the over flows, which have been a feature of some streets in Worthing and Hastings since 2016.
“In the meantime we can do no better but to pump. We have a six-inch pump that is working in the area of the obstruction, it is not as effective as the ten, so there are times when you would still see a bit of leakage from the manholes. We have ordered an additional ten-inch pump and we are having the other ten-inch pump repaired,” he added.
At the same time he appealed to those responsible for pumping effluence into the Graeme Hall swamp to desist from the practice.
“The Graeme Hall Swamp is a UNESCO designate site so those persons who are doing this need to be aware that they are in fact creating challenges in that regard and will harm the flora and fauna within that site,” Estwick said, adding, “work with us when you are having those types of challenges and we will send the appropriate haulers”.