The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is still not saying definitively when the sewage problems along the south coast will be permanently fixed.
However, in an interview today with the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS), the BWA’s Director of Engineering Charles Leslie said injection wells, which were needed to facilitate repairs to the compromised sewer lines, should be fully operational by the middle of this year.
Leslie explained that technical teams were in the process of capping the first two wells, with the third and fourth wells due to be cased and pipes installed.
He also disclosed that two additional wells were to be drilled to provide “reserve capacity” in case any of the wells have to be taken offline in the future for cleaning.
The BWA spokesman further explained that once the wells were commissioned, the BWA’s Waste Water Division would be able to “start repairs and do further investigation of the gravity line”.
“With a gravity system, it is a lot more work to get it rehabilitated once you have damage on that. There are a lot of things that could have gone wrong with the gravity line and this would determine the extent of whatever [repairs] we would be doing,” Leslie explained.
On the other hand, he suggested that the force main should be “relatively easy” to fix, based on previous tests conducted on the south coast system, which has been riddled with problems over the past year, resulting in huge losses for both residents and businesses in the area.
At the height of the sewage spills, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Germany, which are among the island’s major tourists markets, had issued advisories to their nationals against venturing into the area, which has generated much negative publicity for the tourism dependent country.
Today, Leslie also addressed public concerns about the resurgence of overflows on the south coast, particularly in the vicinity of the old Scotiabank at Hastings, stating it was a result of pressure built up by blockages.
“Because the system is so charged, anytime we seal a location, like a manhole on the street or on some person’s property to stop it from spilling, the sewage is still coming and has to relieve itself somewhere. So that is why you would see by the by-pass pump there may be worsening flows in the street.
“Additionally, the restriction just upstream by the old Scotiabank, that could be getting worse. Every day we take off rags at the by-pass pump; some of those are passing and going towards the restriction and that could be worsening,” he explained.
However, the BWA spokesman sought to reassure the public that the Waste Water Division had been working assiduously to better manage the situation in the interim, with the assistance of private waste haulers, to pump waste water from their properties.
The director of engineering also disclosed that the BWA would meet with residents and business owners along the south coast in the coming weeks to discuss preparations for remedial work, which may include traffic diversions.