A potentially catastrophic situation was averted this afternoon when the floor of the Hampton pumping station in St Philip collapsed as workers were doing repairs.
Fortunately, none of those workers was injured thanks to the safety equipment they were wearing.
“We had a major issue at the Hampton Station where the floor of the pumping station collapsed and they were some men in the well at the time on harnesses and they were persons above the well,” said Minister of Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams as he expressed concern over the dilapidated state of some of the Barbados Water Authority’s (BWA) stations.
“Due to the safety measures and safety precautions that we have, nobody was injured in the process, but the workers on site had to work exceedingly hard to stop the pumps from actually dropping into the well,” Abrahams revealed during a Post-Cabinet press conference at Government headquarters this afternoon.
“So the Hampton station which had been working at half capacity and which we had hoped to resume full capacity today for us to have normal distribution by tomorrow, now has been affected. We are trying hard to make the best of a bad situation…but safety first at this point. I would love to restore the full capacity of that pumping station by today but that is likely to be impossible.”
When asked by members of the media if he was worried about the condition of the BWA’s machinery, Abrahams admitted that he was. He said some of the equipment used by the BWA was in very, bad condition.
According to him the pumping station at Fort George had been identified as one that needed to be repaired, as it could not be filled past one third of its capacity.
“Yes, we have concerns with some of the pumping stations and we are working on dealing with the ones we have identified. Hampton was not one of the ones on the list, so we are going to take this warning that luckily ended with no loss of life and the engineers are going to inspect every single pumping installation for weaknesses, because we can’t put people who work there at risk,” the Minister said.
“For the last ten years nobody sneezed in the direction of the water authority. No maintenance was done, no upkeep was done, the reservoirs were allowed to fall into major disrepair…our reservoirs in Barbados are in a real, bad condition.
“That is what happens when you do not look back at or maintain your critical installations. That is what happened with the South Coast [sewage] that led to the leakage and that is what happened in Bridgetown with the Sewage Treatment Plant. We had no serious maintenance in the water sector or the waste water sector over the last ten years and we are now reaping the consequences of that,” Abrahams said.
The Minister said the BWA was in the process of finalizing a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank to restore 12 reservoirs while pointing out that the authority would also be replacing several reservoirs. He said those installations should be completed by January.