Plans to address the long running problems of the south coast sewage system in time for the December 15 start of the tourist season appear to have met yet another stumbling block.
It was during a progress update this afternoon held in the Committee Room of Parliament, Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams revealed that repair works have hit a snag beyond his ministry’s control. Abrahams explained while the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is now clear on what needs to be done to have the system functional again, a crucial piece of machinery has broken down and it is difficult to determine when it will be repaired.
The Minister said based on weeks of exploratory work it was determined both damaged sewer lines could be repaired by using trenchless technology.
This would be done by using a liner inside of the concrete incased pipes without having to dig them up. Abrahams revealed the repair of the force main requires two sets of liners placed over the breach and while the first liner was successfully placed last week, the specialized cutter required for the placement of the second liner had broken down.
“We were so close to the finish and the cutter broke down. There are about four of those cutting units in the United States. One was sent to Barbados and they don’t want to send another one to Barbados, so we have to get that one repaired. So the Barbados Water Authority is currently exploring options for the repair of this equipment and any alternatives. Once the force main is repaired the BWA would begin repairs to all other access points and conduct pressure testing of the sewer,” the Minister explained.
“The fact is that we have a super technical piece of machinery, that requires a specialized trained operator who came from Germany, that broke down. Nobody here has the expertise to repair it. The situation is outside of our control. We know what needs to be done but in order to get it done everything has to be working,”said Abrahams.
The Minister said all of the contingency measures through canals at the side of Graham continue to function. He said while Worthing Beach would most likely remain closed, the BWA has addressed a number of issues including eradicating the stench that was emanating from a section of the Graeme Hall swamp. He also told reporters that Government had ramped up testing of the water quality of surrounding beaches from weekly to daily to ensure its suitability for sea bathers.
Abrahams contended that while he was mindful that tourism on the south coast would be impacted, it was
better to ensure that the job was done correctly.
Since 2016, the BWA has been trying to fix sewage issues plaguing the south coast with thr then Democratic Labour Party administration spending millions in mitigating solutions, which have yielded little success. The latest was the construction of injection wells, which according to Abrahams is currently only able to deal with 10 per cent of the waste.