The Barbados Government will have another sewage mess on its hands if “immediate action” is not taken to address issues at the Bridgetown Sewage Treatment Plant.
General Manager of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), Keithroy Halliday sounded the warning today during a post Cabinet press briefing at Government Headquarters.
“We are quite concerned with the Bridgetown Sewage treatment plant. It’s been hopping along for sometime and we are at the point that if we don’t take immediate action, if we do not apply immediate resources, we will have a significant problem in two to four weeks time,” Halliday, who has been under pressure to have the south coast project rectified, said.
Previously the BWA had reactivated one of its lift stations for Bay Street as part of mitigation measures at that Bridgetown plant. However, Halliday said that measure put “more pressure on our Bridgetown sewage system and we have seen the reality of that coming to bear” as the equipment was now “taxed”.
He said the BWA would need some $12 million to get the system back to a “secondary state” so it would not “collapse around us”.
“The equipment there is beginning to fail and is beginning to fail significantly. One of our tanks is not working at the moment and the other one, which contains the divesture, and other equipment is beginning to fail. While we have not yet placed it before the Cabinet of ministers we are looking at at least $12 million to try to rehabilitate the Bridgetown Sewage Plant in its most basic sense. This does not yet allow us to address some of the other issues where we had a fire at the staffroom that needs rehabilitating and some of the other ancillary works that need to be done. This must not allow us to carry the system fully back into what we call a secondary state this is just to make sure that the system doesn’t collapse around us,” he warned.
He further explained that there was need to look at some of the trunk lines, some of the contact plants, some of the ancillary equipment that goes with it and “that’s just to enable us to make sure we maintain the Bridgetown sewage plant as best as we can”.
Just yesterday the week-old Barbados Labour Party administration got a first hand look at the ongoing situation on the south coast which Prime Minister Mia Mottley said was “worse that we thought”.
“What we find is a dire situation. I am lost for words at how one Government could have presided over the utter destruction of Barbados’ infrastructure and systems, as this last Government did for the most part of the last five, six years . . . because that’s when it really intensified,” Mottley said as she described the south coast situation as nothing “short of criminal”.
“This is what we inherited and I don’t intend for the situation to continue. In fact what I saw yesterday is nothing short of criminal because there is no way Barbados should have been allowed to come to that without action . . . . I am not casting blame on anybody other than the provision of resources. You can’t expect entities to function especially in crisis situations if you don’t provided the resources for it and that’s what’s happened with the Barbados Water Authority with the sewage project,” the Prime Minister said about the mess she inherited.
“What we have now is the cumulative impact of a Government that went missing in action, that was lost, and that was more concerned with the issuance of tax concessions and contracts than it was in maintaining systems for ordinary Barabdians to be able to function,” she added.