A heavy-duty vacuum cleaner on wheels appears to have made a major breakthrough in unblocking the troubled sewer line on the South Coast.
One of two cutting-edge, heavy-duty, computerized machines acquired by Jose Y Jose Liquid and Solid Waste Management Inc. was pressed into service in the troubled area near the entrance of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and on Worthing Main Road, where significant blockage existed in the network.
The clearing of the sewer lines is a major step towards ridding the area of manholes overflowing with effluent from the nearby South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant for over a year, officials said. The stench forced area businesses to curtail operations and threatened tourism and sea bathing along the bustling Worthing section of the South Coast hotel belt.
The firm’s chief executive officer, Anderson Fat Child Cherry, said the equipment, a vacuum tanker was necessary to clear the blockage.
“The machine is designed and equipped to jet and to clear blockages. It also has a camera that does camera inspections onto the edge of the hole. So, what we can do is to fit the camera on, go in, you would see underneath the ground
. . . what is going on under there and then use this piece of equipment . . . it can clear, it can cut,” Cherry told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
The Vactor 2100 truck is equipped with a pump and a tank. It is designed to pneumatically suck liquids, including sludges and slurries.
The waste hauler brought in consultant Thomas Leonard, who brought “the monster”, nicknamed David, out from Canada.
While Jose y Jose had started work on the blockage since February, the “right” tools were not available at the time and three months later the equipment arrived here to do the job, Cherry said.
“We had to send our guys to train first and then we brought a specialist that did the certification and [Leonard] came and certified us in terms of blockage and jetting and he came and did the job, while training the men the same time,” Cherry said, adding that this unblocking exercise which was done just over a month ago, took about six hours.
But while the blockage appeared to have been cleared, there are breaches in the lines which still have to be urgently addressed, General Manager of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Keithroy Halliday said this afternoon.
“That [blockage] was part of the problem. We have breaches in the line, we have blockages in the line. His equipment, along with our own jetter truck and equipment, assisted us to help clear the blockages. But we still have breaches in the line which is why we are doing the line repairs and other repairs to see if we can make those six sewer lines whole again,” Halliday told Barbados TODAY.
The reason for the slow progress on completely restoring the sewage system was because the process of cleaning the line had to be repeated to ensure there were no lingering issues, the BWA general manager explained.
“Often you have to repeat the process several times . . . particularly if that line has issues, you have to tread very carefully and that is why the technology has moved along progressively slow because we have to make sure we are checking the line continuously. So, yes, he [Cherry] has been a part of that assistance in the sense that he has provided equipment to do that,” he said.
“But we have also used our own jetting equipment and other jetting equipment and other haulers as well. So he is just part of a whole solution,” he added.
With the blockages out of the way, urgent attention is being given to repairing the line and testing areas of the force main to make sure it is still secure and clear,” said Halliday.
“And we are doing the line repairs to the force main . . . we have to get that out of the way . . . get that line and the integrity of the line re-established so that we can start sending the effluent back out through the outfall, so we can relieve the stress from the plant.”
Next, technicians will move in to repair the sanitary line.
“We want to make sure the force main is repaired before the start of the tourist season so that we don’t have any issues . . . . We have to safeguard our economy very, very carefully. Outside of that we have the flushing of the lines. We have a certain amount of miles we have to flush and cleaned systematically. We have put out for tender for a number of individuals and perhaps he [Cherry] might be one of them. There are about three contenders that were in the mix that were looking to clear the line,” Halliday disclosed.
Spokesman for the South Coast residents, Adrian Donavan, revealed that, apart from the removal of the blockage in the sewer line, the Ministry also offered beach vendors who ply their trade along Worthing Beach – currently closed – the option to set up elsewhere.
Donovan, who attended a stakeholders meeting chaired by Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams on Tuesday, said the Minister assured the rental chair vendors they would be given permits to carry on their business.
Donavan also shared video with Barbados TODAY showing Cherry’s equipment sucking out what appeared to be a huge mop from the sewer line at Worthing.