$2 million repair of South Coast sewerage system

The Barbados Water Authority today announced it is undertaking a $2 million repair of the South Coast sewerage system, following a leakage in recent weeks.

The problem resulted in effluence flowing onto the streets of the South Coast, affecting both residents and businesses of the popular tourist area.

General Manager of the BWA, Dr John Mwanza told a news conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort this morning that during the first week of November one of the effluent pumps failed, resulting in overflow in the collection system.  The damaged pump was repaired, however there was another failure a week later, causing a similar overflow.

“Now what we have noticed over the years of operation of the plant is that when you get heavy rainfall the flow to the plant increases, which will mean that you’re getting some of that rainwater getting into the sewer system. Our treatment plant was not designed to handle sewage and storm water. It basically was only designed to handle sewage water.

“So when you get that added amount of storm water on top of that, the capacity of our effluent pumps can be exceeded, and the incident that we had on November 29th where we got six inches of rain within a two-hour period resulted in the water levels within Graeme Hall swamp rising to a point where some of the neighbouring properties were also being submerged and we had the increased flow into the sewer system,” he explained.

Mwanza said the BWA is adopting a multi-prong approach to the problem, including ordering new equipment which is expected to arrive within eight weeks.

Dr John Mwanza

“We have also embarked on an intensified flushing system for our sewer network.  We’ll be flushing the system at night to try and get some of the grease out of the system.  And for our sewer outfall we actually have divers working on the diffusers to clean the existing diffusers and then once we get the new diffusers which should be coming in January, the dysfunctional diffusers will be replaced by new ones…

“And the water authority has been working on that plant and maintaining that plant, but some of the equipment has reached an age where no maintenance is enough. For example the effluent pumps are now obsolete and we have to get new pumps.  The pumps that we get, we want to get a variety where you could fit them back into position without having to cut any of the pipe work. And that is why you could not just go into a shop and find a replacement so easily.  If we were getting back the same pumps as what is there, it would have been easy to get the replacement pumps quickly.  But we now have to get pumps made to fit the purpose and that is why the delivery time for those pumps to replace the effluent pumps is about eight weeks,” he stated.

Mwanza added that the BWA is collaborating with the Ministry of Health and the Drainage Division to “ensure that we can manage the water levels in the [Graeme Hall] swamp to a point where they will not impact negatively the operations of the plant”.

He also admitted that the BWA has fallen short in its communications to the public since the problem surfaced.

“And so we are setting up a Facebook account and we will try and use social media to come to some of the issues we have not been able to address as eloquently as we could. But the truth of the matter is that we have been working,” he said.

Meanwhile Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Investment, Stuart Layne, stressed that the work is being undertaken for Barbadians as well as visitors, and that the funds are available for the project.

“The parts have already been ordered and we are pleased to announce that there is no issue with funding. We actually have the cash to do this and we’re ready to pay the bills as they come in, so there’ll be no problems with this particular situation in a go-forward basis,” Layne said.

Earlier this week Government Senator Harry Husbands told the Senate that it would cost government $1 billion to fix the country’s sewerage system.

79 Responses to $2 million repair of South Coast sewerage system

  1. Peter December 17, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Oops, Here comes a sewerage tax. Chris gine fix um.

  2. Marsha Layne
    Marsha Layne December 17, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Wait… Wait…go slow…

    2 million, 1 billion??

    Somebody obviously having challenges reading the numbers….

    • Nikolai Gibson
      Nikolai Gibson December 17, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      I thought I had read wrong or something when I heard that cost

    • Christopher Donawa
      Christopher Donawa December 17, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Marsha and Nikolai. The numbers are the 2nd thing. The first is that we are even discussing the repair of something that was not, according to some, broken in the first place!!!!

    • Marsha Layne
      Marsha Layne December 18, 2016 at 1:20 am

      Absolutely Christopher….wonder if that now means we cd have doctor bills from the Minister’s swim.!!!!!!……

  3. Whitehill December 17, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    You darn well know there is a tax coming, I had envisioned these clowns coming up with a foop tax soon like my women impose on me, but if a poop tax comes first…oh well!

  4. Samantha Brathwaite
    Samantha Brathwaite December 17, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    the rain on 29 november might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back but all along st. lawrence to worthing was a smelly mess weeks before then .

    • John Strutton
      John Strutton December 18, 2016 at 5:28 am

      This idiot must think that the people of Bim have the memory of a goldfish….

  5. Suzi Griffith
    Suzi Griffith December 17, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    I thought it was a bazillion dollars…math not so good.

  6. Sunshine Sunny Shine December 17, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    You should have been fired for telling misleading the public, if not for telling lies.

  7. Greitcha Smith
    Greitcha Smith December 17, 2016 at 7:35 pm


  8. Nikolai Gibson
    Nikolai Gibson December 17, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Two weeks ago they said it was not a sewage leak, now they are saying that it is,and that they realised the problem gets worse with rain. This country really is going down the drain while the sewage is coming up.

  9. Tony Webster December 17, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Just watched the TV-8 “coverage” ( as edited, of course). S. Coast Hoteliers are now expected to tell their patrons, that the problem is er…fixed..required funds are “.in hand” …problem not expected to recur…er…fixed…and evahting is under control, but er…the parts will take 8 weeks to be made and arrive, then 2 weeks to instal. Dr.Mwansa clearly sez, dat the problem “did been there for years”.

    BTW: the relevant minister, or ministers, or even the QEH guy whose neck was stuck out to take the lashes, were not visible on TV. DEM was busy someplace else, presumably.

    So evahbody can relax, and the Tourism marketing folks ent changing no 2017 projections or nuttin so. So there!!

    Translation for ignoramuses like me: No one is to blame; not a soul gine home; an some magician gine conjure $2M out of thin air.

    Q.E.D….and fingers well and truly crossed for nex 10 weeks.

  10. Tête La
    Tête La December 17, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    wait, I thought he said people were walking around and lifting the sewer covers; and it was sabotage

    • Maria Leclair Dasilva
      Maria Leclair Dasilva December 17, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      I believe the sewage sabotage situation you may be referring to was at Combermere school.

    • Tête La
      Tête La December 17, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      oh dear, look how things coming out; #talkthethings

      this man needs to hand in his resignation. in any country with integrity, people would already resign and after multiple failures

    • Samantha Brathwaite
      Samantha Brathwaite December 17, 2016 at 10:51 pm

      Maria Leclair Dasilva the good doctor also said persons unknown were removing manhole covers

    • Tête La
      Tête La December 17, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      the thing is, the manholes covers were lifting by them self, especially the ones by the vista, lucky horse shoe, worthing court, peronne village and the one just outside the worthing post office

  11. Philip Matthews
    Philip Matthews December 17, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    So what are they waiting on?, land tax paid in, 17.5 vat collected every month, salary taxes paid every month, THAT BLASTED EXTRA 2% on all imports every Day, Import Tax Every Day Collected, Stop the talking and START FIXING THE BLASTED PLANT ALREADY

  12. Adrian Reid
    Adrian Reid December 17, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Three things that can not be hidden for long the sun,the moon& the truth …

  13. Ejd December 17, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Mia warned about Clico. No one believed. Mia warned abut the sewage plant. No one believed.

  14. Big Brown December 17, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Well, well, well. (pun intended) After Miss Mottley expose wunnah incompetence and lies you now coming through the back door to tell us what we already knew.

    Why you didn’t say that there are really four pumps and BWA already cannibalised one; that one broke down and that the other two were not designed to handle the load and that, along with the blocked diffusers, is the real source of the problem. The plant has been pumping raw sewage into the outfall pipe for months on end.

    Tell us Dr. Mwanza, when was the last time that solids were collected from the plant and taken to the dump site in Christ Church?

    And you accusing people of sabotaging manhole covers. Have you no shame?

    Tell the people that maintenance has been sporadic at best and virtually non-existent of late because there is no money.

    The truth will out in the end. Fear not!

  15. Joel C. Payne
    Joel C. Payne December 17, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    I bet a British Governor would have done some firing by now and called elections. So he means to say all of this this could have been fixed (by HIS ESTIMATATION) for a fraction of what it cost to hold their Independence Fete?

  16. John Walmark December 17, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    just tell everyone when the sewage will stop backing up in the streets and into sea? Plan and simple ..
    that is what residents ,businesses and Tourists want to know .
    when will it be fixed?

  17. Michael Allamby December 17, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    As a property owner seriously affected by the malfunction, and remembering his previous comments on the issue, I am not sure that this gentleman has my confidence now

  18. Dan Vaughn
    Dan Vaughn December 17, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Cheese it took these ppl so long to reach that decision? Stupse!!!!! U had to pull teeth to reach that decision

  19. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall December 17, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    But you denied there was a problem

  20. Steve L. Jemmott
    Steve L. Jemmott December 17, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    On top of denying there ever was a leak , and making us out to be liars , he’s now at the helm of calling for financing of its repair..and he still have his “job”….only in Barbados.

    • Jay Manny
      Jay Manny December 17, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      Someone else pulling the strings.

    • Steve L. Jemmott
      Steve L. Jemmott December 17, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Gone are the days when reporters, news paper columnist etc. had the veracity to call to attention these blatant thwarted modes of thinking and pursue it to action. Guess we are in the age where anything goes! “..and man has lost their reason”

    • Marsha Layne
      Marsha Layne December 18, 2016 at 1:25 am


      Don’t lump every one together Steve…..do take time to check the archives of my column…..

      The singular difference is this gvmt is like a water logged bed….you’d sooner break your back trying to move it…..

      And it’s useless for the purpose it was intended….

  21. Veronica Straker
    Veronica Straker December 17, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Really????? I thought there wasn’t anything wrong with it

    • C BRIAN BARNES December 18, 2016 at 10:33 am


  22. Santini More
    Santini More December 17, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Wow! The Govt could have spent $2 million on fixing this problem at the beginning of 2016 and still have had $5 million to squander on Independence celebrations!..Priorities!

  23. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner December 17, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Wow no sewerage leak but now admitting there wass a leak,damm stupid politicians think public stupid like them.Too damm little too damm late.

  24. Jay Manny
    Jay Manny December 17, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Ain’t these the same clowns that said the problem was nonexistent?

  25. Francis December 17, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    The good doctor drop the ball big time!!
    Do the decent thing RESIGN.

    • Borola December 18, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      If he won’t resign gracefully, then he should be FIRED. He is incompetant and he as well as this whole situation is a discrace.

  26. Jay Manny
    Jay Manny December 17, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    All of this so someone can benefit, or rather a group.

  27. John F Walmark
    John F Walmark December 17, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Just fix it, tell everyone when it will be fixed

  28. jackquelynn jones December 17, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Who is assessing the cost? First it was billions, now it is millions?
    How big are the part to be replaced. Personally, I would like to see order form, where and who are parts being ordered from? It has taken Mwanza since December to come up with these answers. There must be a way to expedite due to Emergency, Thankful some action being taken…but will it save businesses or the season?

  29. Lana Walcott
    Lana Walcott December 17, 2016 at 9:54 pm


  30. louis walker December 17, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Dear Babados Today,
    I found the comments made by Mr Whitehill above to be in poor taste ,and am surprised you saw fit to publish it,bearing in mind the four -letter word used to describe his use of women.
    Women are our mothers;they raise our children ;they care for us when times are bad :they are not there just to be exploited;for personal gratification.
    I hope any young girl/woman reading my comments would strive to be the best woman she can be.
    I hope the young men of Barbados realise their responsibilities not only to themselves but to the opposite sex.
    I am a member of the Bajan diaspora, and hope that one day our brothers will learn to treat our sisters with respect.

  31. Troy R Stuart
    Troy R Stuart December 17, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Why is this jackass still working ????

  32. AniRo Burke
    AniRo Burke December 17, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    But looka this theifing thing though. I thought the original cost was estimated to be $1 billion. Just goes to show you the real money that getting thief bout here. The government brek, but how and by whom? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.

  33. The Negrocrat December 17, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    They keep clowns like the doctor to make the PM look good

  34. Dominique Tudor
    Dominique Tudor December 17, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    How do you fix something that’s “not broken” ?

    • Marsha Layne
      Marsha Layne December 18, 2016 at 1:29 am

      Going with ‘DEM’…..That’s how…..

  35. Angela Thompson Branch
    Angela Thompson Branch December 17, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Well go to the source of the money tree that finance the celebrations and fix Barbados nah.

  36. Adrian Allison
    Adrian Allison December 18, 2016 at 1:05 am

    There wasn’t a sewage leak last weeek but yet they now announce a two million dollar repair project.
    I’m so sick of these politicians and others employed to do a job looking at Bajans and thinking we are a pack of fools……..these clowns really think wr are stupid.
    After the debacle that characterized the BWA for the entirety of 2016 there is no justifiable way that Dr Mwanza should still be at that institution but it seems that bad performance and low productivity is the the standard for contintinual employment in the present Barbados.
    God bless Bim ?
    More like God have mercy on Bim.

  37. Judy Skinner
    Judy Skinner December 18, 2016 at 2:22 am


  38. John Strutton
    John Strutton December 18, 2016 at 5:27 am

    From no sewage problem to $2million-worth of sewage problem almost overnight. Where does Bim find these buffoons, and how stupid does the government think the people are? Hopefully this and the catalogue of other calamities will be reflected at the next elections…

  39. Mhizzjoan Moore
    Mhizzjoan Moore December 18, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Ppl lookin for free money

  40. jus me December 18, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Marsha Layne
    I figure that the cost is 2 mil and add ons for pocket money for those concerned brings it to $1,000,000,000, sounds about right
    doncha think?

  41. Joy Hope
    Joy Hope December 18, 2016 at 7:55 am

    For years I can hear this voice nothing is wrong with the water nothing is wrong with the drainage now I wonder what really happened r we dieing slowly to

  42. Joy Hope
    Joy Hope December 18, 2016 at 7:55 am


  43. jus me December 18, 2016 at 8:03 am

    OH I JUST SEE Why the PM say there is NO problem.
    Cos he figure he Sh..e dont stink.!!!!!

    Amazing how simple the problem was .

  44. Cecily JONES December 18, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Doesanyone think that the politicians and the people in charge read these comments, or even care if they do? Why are these people not being held accountable? The minister last week saying that there is no problem and no we’re told that £2m is going to be spent to repair a problem, which according to the Minister doesn’t exist. The same Minister claimed a few months ago that people were stealing the manhole covers and creating a problem (which he later denied existed). It’s like they are living in an alternate parallel universe.

    I’m gobsmacked that Mwanza is only now considering a FB page for the BWA but I’d be interested to know just what purpose such a page would serve.

    I say it over and over again. Th eproblem overall is lack of accountability and transparency. Politicians and thos ein charge of public services don’t feel that they have to answer to the electorate and the public at large, and it’s not surprising because we don’t hold them accountable. Commenting on and steusping about the many problems we face on FB is not holding them responsible…and we need greater transparency too…we need to be better informed about how our taxes are being spent, about plans for development etc…until we start to demand better government we’re going to keep on getting more of the same disregard and disrespect. The Health Minister and the BWA person should both be out of jobs this morning.

  45. Rick Forde
    Rick Forde December 18, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Jobs jobs jobs for people will be created but this time I hope then get it right

  46. Leroy December 18, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Something as simple as this our politicians and managers cant address effectively.
    7-2=5, I like um…taken from previous posts

    Oh and on the topic of millions,,i need to see the purchase order for the airport scanners.

  47. Hugh Roberta Ferguson
    Hugh Roberta Ferguson December 18, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Yes from NO leak, to a BILLION dollar repairs, now only $2 million….Which is it??? Mean while sh#t still flowing…Yes even verbally at FLOW too…Do try to salvage a Happy Christmas anyway…

  48. Alex Alleyne December 18, 2016 at 10:24 am

    These fellas just roll these figures off the tongue like if they will just put 2 fingers in a pants fob and matters fixed.
    I think that when they come up with these sums of money they first look out in the car park and the first number plate that the eye caught with high numbers , that what will be used.

  49. Peter December 18, 2016 at 10:26 am

    At $ 2 Billion, is that BDS or US dollars? But is sounds realistically like a brand new sewerage system to me. DEM know that DEM gon lose the next election so this is a well disguised plan to top up their pockets. DEM already doing it with their pensions and back pay not to mention duty free vehicles.

  50. Alex Alleyne December 18, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Those funds will be raised from among us. Estimated (BWA) bills for the next 2 years and matters fixed.

  51. jrsmith December 18, 2016 at 11:38 am

    @, Joel, C P, hail, hail on the button..well said , but to add no sense the majority of bajans jumping and up and down , bajans should learn to behave as like the 1% and we might get some results..
    If this sewage project costs 1 dollar , or 20 billions dollars its not going to make any difference, It would be like it or lump it..see how quick the figures keep changing…
    Our government is not really trustworthy , the politicians answer to no one nothing would be paper trailed ,no one to be fingered because they are all at it ..

    Hooray for the Doctor, he has blown this sewage project issue out of this world , now bajans can come to they own conclusion as to , what , why , where ,how , them ,us ,2 million , 2 billion which bank overseas.. which company , what company and ah, atlas we have got it………. the people lost….

  52. Mack December 18, 2016 at 11:48 am

    We need to fire all these incompetent people who are mismanaging the water and sewer systems in Barbados. they are not working in the interest of the country. The all have paper knowledge. But no common sense, no ability to manage anything. Why are they still retained in these positions??
    I guess their are friends of the decision makers, this could be the only reason. People of Barbados need to wake up and repersent their interest.

  53. Sheron Inniss December 18, 2016 at 11:56 am

    All I can say is day does run ’til night catch it. Also disappointed in some people.

  54. Mack December 18, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Could anyone say how many water and sewer systems the good Dr John Managed before taking on the assignment in Barbados. Or did he get the job by way of Dr Arley, his friend. Who earlier destroyed the sugar industry and was moved to Water and Sewer to destroy that also. To gather they are doing a fine job at destruction. Who will stop them?????????

  55. Mac December 18, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    “Now what we have noticed over the years of operation of the plant is that when you get heavy rainfall the flow to the plant increases, which will mean that you’re getting some of that rainwater getting into the sewer system. Our treatment plant was not designed to handle sewage and storm water. It basically was only designed to handle sewage water.

    The above paragraph is nothing but an admission of incompetence.
    Why was there no action taken over the years to avoid what has happened over the past months.?
    The public has already been informed of the aged pumps and the dysfunctional diffusers by the leader of the opposition.
    You should have made that statement months ago (sorry years ago)
    What statement will you be making at the end of March 2017

  56. Arlene Branch December 18, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    I wonder where the other $998,000.00 was going? can someone help me to understand how a problem that was supposed to cost $1 billion could now be fixed for $2 million. Is this new maths or magic? I agree with the post by Allex. I heard the same pulling out figures for the renovations of the PSV river road bus stand. At first it was $1.5 million, then it was to be $2.5 million and later $3.5 million and a finished date was given. The time has passed and I wonder which figure was used. What I know is that it is not finished to date. I am waiting to hear how much it will cost to finish it, if it is ever finished, because the only dates that exist on DEM calendar is “shortly”, “soon” “very soon” “in a few months”, “in the latter half of next year”, “in a few weeks” and all the phrases that sounds good to DEM. Let’s wait and see.

  57. Jasmine December 18, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    You still de? Old Cargo. Fresh Blood needed. You are obsolete like ya old equipment. Go way you!

  58. Mack December 18, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    PM Stuart, you need to make MIA a Dame, or give her the trinity cross if you are going Republic soon. She is a Super hero, she pointed out the problem with the sewage system to the Doctors , engineers and learned men and women of the BWA and save our tourist Industry. If this action is not that of a hero. Well Tell the people of Barbados what is.?????????

  59. jrsmith December 18, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Bajans it would be the nicest thing ever , if (Today ) down loaded this forum and send the same off to the non productive politicians of the Government , letting them see how much us bajans is impressed with the wonderful job their doing , destroying our country , because our country could do a lot better if the government wasn’t standing in the way of progress…..

  60. Hermine Alleyne
    Hermine Alleyne December 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    We pay water bills,people attached to the sewage system pays, we pay Vat,we pay road tax, we pay and pay the infrastructure has broken down where is the money going???As a tax payer I would like to know, no tax refunds, enough is enough,no more crap talk any other part of the world they would have to explain or face the music.

  61. Ossie Moore December 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    It seems to me that the repairs are just being done because ” visitors ” are involved ” . . . . as according to Stuart Layne.

    Stuart Layne : [ Meanwhile Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Investment, Stuart Layne, stressed that the work is being undertaken for Barbadians as well as visitors ]

  62. John Harewood
    John Harewood December 18, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    That was the independence celebration money

  63. The Wiz December 18, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    In Barbados, we tend to borrow and build, then walk away until it’s time to borrow and build again. Very little regard for ongoing maintenance. If the system was designed to collect and treat wastewater only (Mia seems to think otherwise) then an infiltration and inflow (I & I) control program should be in place This type of maintenance is pretty basic and relatively inexpensive. I am baffled as to why it would take years to notice that you do have an I & I problem. This should be a good teaching moment for our youth; honesty is always the best policy.

    • Sunshine Sunny Shine December 19, 2016 at 3:01 am

      There are some idiots who will tell you that is necessary to keep persons employed. So according to them, lack of maintenance and obsolete inspection practices are all normal and acceptable.

  64. Ann Harding December 21, 2016 at 8:13 am

    When will the west coast get a sewage system?

    Nobody pretends not to notice the smell when rains come, and the health and safety of bathers and fisherfolk are at stake, as well as the local seafood supply.

    Things will only get worse until effective infrastructure is in place, unless all development is stopped but I don’t see that happening.

    Can someone please inform us of the planning schedule?


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