South coast residents and businesses are being warned to brace for further inconvenience in the coming weeks as the authorities move to the next stage of repairing the vexing sewage crisis.
According to Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abraham, excavation, which began today on sewer lines in the vicinity of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, as well as at the old Scotia Bank in Worthing, Christ Church, is expected to impact traffic and businesses on Highway 7.
However, in his update on efforts to address the long running sewage crisis, the minister said a few more weeks of inconvenience was a small price to pay for permanent relief.
“The first step which we are doing today, and we will be working on for the next seven days, will be largely concentrated in this area [Graeme Hall Sanctuary] so we will have minimal disruption to traffic . . . . However, when we get in front of the [old] Scotia Bank building that is going to be a different story because that excavation will be on the road,” Abrahams told reporters during a press briefing at the Graeme Hall dig site this afternoon.
“So there will be traffic disruption . . . . If you balance the inconvenience of sewage on the streets for the last three years to some disruption in the next four to six weeks, then I am sure people would take the latter,” he added.
General Manager of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Keithroy Halliday revealed yesterday that since the six 300-foot injection wells became operational last Thursday all of the overflows that have plagued the south coast have ceased.
He said this enabled the BWA to go into the system today to begin work on a permanent fix.
The water company executive, who was present at the excavation site today, explained that while all efforts were being made to expedite the process, the complexity of the work ahead, as well as the safety of workers, meant they had to proceed carefully.
“We have to proceed with caution because we don’t want anything to undermine the manhole. Safety is paramount and we know that when you start going into the hole, we may get some h2s gas [hydrogen sulphide] that comes off the sewage, which could overwhelm our workers. So we have to work with an abundance of caution and safety. We will be using gas monitors as well as respirators,” Halliday explained.
The BWA general manager added that along with the inconvenience to businesses and residents, the rainy season has also shortened the window for works to be completed.
“We are happy that we have gotten to this point but we still recognize, significantly so, that the start of another long process in actually repairing or attempting to fix the sewer line. We are still targeting to get this done in a matter of weeks. We need to get this done in a certain time because we are arriving at the rainy season and that would be inconveniencing a number of businesses in the area. We really want to keep that at an absolute minimum,” he stressed.