The south coast sewage crisis is on the mend, according to Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams.
Abrahams gave an update on the South Coast Sewage Project during a press conference at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) headquarters this morning.
He said the southern belt was “better than pre-crisis levels” with the disposal wells not being used since December 21, 2018 and the bypass pump only on standby for use, as various sections of the sewer lines are being checked.
Abrahams also said the Greame Hall Swamp is on the rebound.
“We have come in eight months from sewage openly on the street to a situation where both of the sewer lines effectively have been repaired. The south coast sewage plant is operating at its capacity at the moment, Graeme Hall swamp which was receiving raw sewage for over three years is on the rebound, fish have come back, the water quality is great, smells have gone down, the mosquitoes have been controlled,” Abrahams said.
He added that the water in the swamp has remained at acceptable levels since the outfall was commissioned and the Environmental Protection Department has reported that the water quality samples have “comfortably passed” international standards for health and safety.
However, oceanographic studies of the beach will be continued to make sure that the 12-inch outfall does not impact the water quality of nearshore or offshore reefs.
Abrahams assured that the pumps at the South Coast plant have been adjusted to operate more efficiently and the BWA has stepped up significantly in the monitoring of the entire sewage network.
“I don’t want to say the crisis is over because I don’t want us to sit back and relax. I want to say that we are back to better than pre-crisis levels but the reality is that the crisis just showed what was wrong with the system and the Government has taken the decision that the entire sewage system in Barbados has to be overhauled and upgraded to tertiary,” he stated.
The Minister said the BWA is working to bring “a state of normalcy” and restore the sites at Graeme Hall Sanctuary, old Scotia Bank and Terra Caribbean.
“A flushing and jetting program of the sewer lines is commencing in earnest now that we have some control on the flow of the sewerage inflow and the outflow. We are also continuing testing of other areas of the lines using sonar and GPR technology to try to identify any other issues with the lines and take preventative steps where necessary to minimize events which may lead to service disruption,” he said. (KK)