The three-and-a-half-year-long sewage crisis on the south coast may be at an end, Water Resources Minister Wilfred Abrahams has suggested, as a new wastewater outfall at Graeme Hall is now up and running.
Abrahams told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that for the last few days, sewage has been no longer flowing through the emergency canals of the Graeme Hall swamp. Instead the new lines, which were laid after attempts failed last month to fix the force main to the Needham’s Point outfall, are now taking the load.
“The eight-inch outfall is already in place and has been operational and everything is now being processed through that outfall and there has been no flow into the emergency channel for the last couple of days,” said Abrahams, who had promised earlier that the solution would come on stream in time for the December start of the tourist season.
The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is monitoring the new system while plans to increase capacity with a 12-inch outfall are set to be in place by next month, Abrahams added.
“Everything is going well and we expect that the 12-inch outfall will be finished by the 15th of January. At this point we should have complete capacity to handle anything,” he said.
Last month, the minister revealed that the most recent efforts to fix the long-running crisis had received a major blow, forcing Government to immediately build the outfall pipe 1,000 feet off Graeme Hall, to take the pressure off the Graeme Hall swamp, which regulated the flow of sewage into the now closed Worthing beach.
The minister said at the time that the BWA completed its repairs of a breach to the force main but upon pressurizing the lines, more points on the line appeared to have been compromised, raising questions about the integrity of the lines to Needham’s Point – the site of the original outflow.
But “by happy coincidence” the international environmental firm commissioned to assess the feasibility of the new outfall, had submitted its report two weeks ahead of schedule, giving the project the green light, said the minister.
With the new outfall functioning, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources advised in a statement issued this evening that acting on the recommendation of the Ministry of Health and the Environmental Protection Department the beaches in Worthing were now open to the public for bathing.
The Ministry explained that “from time to time it may be necessary to restrict the use of the beaches to facilitate the rebalancing of the Graeme Hall Swamp and it advised the public to heed and obey signs on the beaches and the instruction of the staff of the National Conservation Commission”.