With the memory of the two-year flow of effluent on south coast streets and with the country just spared the wrath of the second most powerful hurricane in history, Minister of Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams has given an assurance that the south coast sewerage system “is no more vulnerable to weather systems than others of its kind”.
Abrahams told Barbados TODAY that fixes and contingencies are holding well. He further revealed that the system passed the test of tropical storm Dorian, which passed over Barbados a week ago before developing into a category five hurricane which wreaked devastation in the northern Bahamas.
Abrahams said: “We are having no issues with the system. Both outfalls weathered the passage of tropical storm Dorian with no effect.
“We are not going to be affected more than anybody else in terms of a tropical system.
“Our only concern is the outfall, but we have a contingency plan for the immediate repair if something should happen.”
He declared that the issue of storm surge getting into the system, resulting in a repeat of sewage spills which were only fixed less than a year ago, is now a matter which should not keep Barbadians up at night.
Since the construction of the two new outfalls at Graeme Hall, there are currently no breaks in the system that would allow for stormwater to enter and cause problems, he said.
He explained: “There was one break in the line but that was repaired in pretty quick time with no effect.
“Also, that was a mechanical thing when they were trying to raise the pipe and they ended up breaking it. We are having absolutely no issues with it.
“The stormwater is not going to be a problem and in an ideal situation, it should not go into the sewage. That happened the last time because we had ruptures in the line but that is not our reality this time around.”
Back in 2016, raw sewage began to bubble through manholes on the south coast. It was not until late 2018 that Government was able to gain some measure of control over the problem. But this came after millions of dollars expended in clean up and failed fixes.
Area businesses suffered substantial losses in revenue and Barbados’ tourism reputation took a hit, as the stench from the sewage was prevalent in the heart of one of the country’s tourist hubs.
Following Labour’s ascension to power in the May 2018 general elections, Prime Minister Mia Mottley declared the matter as a national crisis and tasked her newly appointed minister for water and sewerage, Abrahams, with overseeing its resolution.
Last November, Abrahams revealed that Government had taken the decision to build a new waste plant within the next 18 months.
But when asked today about the progress of plans for a new tertiary treatment facility, Abrahams told Barbados TODAY that he would provide an update at a later date.