Another failure

Barbados Water Authority admits interim sewage plan not working

A fresh attempt is being made to solve the worsening sewage crisis, with the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) admitting that interim measures to control the problem have failed.

Following a meeting today among top officials of the BWA, the Ministry of Health and the Environmental Protection Department, BWA General Manager Keithroy Halliday announced that 300-foot injection wells must now be dug as a matter of urgency as time was running out.

“The injection wells were part of what we had projected for the medium term and are now being brought forward as of necessity as much as the interim measures are no longer sufficient to contain the effluent as we would want, to keep the overflows to an absolute minimum,” Halliday told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.

“What is happening is that there is a worsening of the situation and because of what we see as additional water intrusion which adds to the existing challenge,” he stressed, adding that this had resulted in more back up than expected.

Faced with this dire situation, the water executive said the immediate rescue plan would now involve digging several deep emergency injection wells, which must however be done under special conditions prescribed by the Ministry of Health.

“The first test well that we are doing will allow us to look at things like permeability, stability . . . and based on that data . . . hydrological and geological data will then determine whether that location is appropriate and how we will then go about developing the well,” Halliday said, while revealing that digging of the test well would start within days just off the existing South Coast Sewerage Plant in the Graeme Hall area.

He said that the wells would allow the authorities to control or divert the effluent that is produced during the day in an effort to keep it off the streets.

“In diverting the effluent at peak times during the day, what we are doing is to minimize the circulating effect, which means there is less pressure on the inflow lines or less competition with the inflow coming in, and therefore that will allow us to maintain the levels a lot more reasonably.” he told Barbados TODAY, while assuring that “the deep injection wells go down to a point where there is absolutely no contamination of the aquifers or potable water.

“The injection wells go right down to the sea levels,” he explained.

The chief executive said the wells, which would be temporary, were also aimed at buying time to connect the permanent bypass.

Halliday also said Barbadians need not worry about any contamination of the potable water during the testing of the injection well because it would be constructed in a zone five area, where none of the drinking water source wells is located.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George confirmed that the Ministry of Health had agreed to the digging of the wells, starting with a test well, under conditions that would ensure the safety of the drinking water.

Dr George also revealed that Barbadian and United States officials would begin join testing of the drinking water at the homes of US embassy staff tomorrow, following a contentious medical alert issued by the Americans last month, advising that tests conducted at those residences, mainly in the sewage affected areas of the south coast, had shown elevated bacterial levels.

Meanwhile, the authorities are being asked to increase the frequency of the sanitizing of the areas on south coast that are affected by the ongoing sewage overflows.

Adrian Donavan, the spokesman for the residents, said once a day was far from adequate.   

“There should be more sanitizing of the area before breakfast, before lunch, and dinner. It is now presently down in the morning. The sanitizing campaign should be increased,” Donavan told Barbados TODAY.

The community activist also repeated his recommendation for the temporary closure of businesses in proximity of the flowing sewage, as well as daily inspection of the residential properties.

Due to the potential health risks posed by the effluent on the road, Donavan also suggested the erection of signs to identify the “danger spots”.

“It is about time the authorities erect and strategically place signage along the affected areas informing both motorists and pedestrians of what they will face or what to expect,” he said, warning that decisive action was needed because this matter was being dealt with in a “callous manner” with no sense of urgency.

The community activist also said that residents in St Lawrence Gap were becoming “itchy” because a week ago, the western entrance had to be closed as a sewer “was acting up”.

“There are other properties along that stretch where there are signs of leakage. So we have come to a situation whereby friendship, business acquaintances and social partners should be put aside and let us deal with the issue at hand. The suffering has been going on for too long. Some businesses are still closed from December and are only hoping and praying that this be rectified,” Donavan stressed.

18 Responses to Another failure

  1. Pat Clarke February 6, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    We need a Mueller Investigation. Not to see if anyone is in collusion with Russia but to determine if this Government is really capable of coming up with a solution to any of its problems. We already know the answer but just to make it official.

  2. luther thorne February 7, 2018 at 2:35 am

    I am very concerned about what I heard on VOB yesterday when it was explained that wells to be dug will contaminate the Barbados water table for ever.

    I know people who are preparing to leave Barbados if there is no change in Government. This thing about the water being contaminated for ever scares me. I shall emigrate to Malta or to Vanautu , Trinidad or New Zealand if they sink those insertion wells. Bajans need to stop these people before they totally destroy Bim.

  3. jrsmith February 7, 2018 at 5:54 am

    They are just a bunch of (wankers ) as I said before they are just scammers all not knowing what they are doing………. Just think no common sense , what they need to do , drill 3 holes the who system is just inadequate good for 4 decades ago ……….

  4. jrsmith February 7, 2018 at 5:57 am

    There is people from foreign countries with skills and new technology will come here and sort this problem easy…….

  5. Tony Webster February 7, 2018 at 6:24 am

    If we “inject” sewage into deep limestone- which is porous- and the stuff is pumped in there under pressure, there is obviously a high risk that it will find its way into our aquifers, from which we draw potable water. As I recall, we have six distinct aquifers, from which we pump water daily. These may be separated by elevation, or cap-rock, or sea-water intrusions, but they are certainly NOT “water-tight” one from the other. Further, unless we were to fortuitously find vast empty caverns in the limestone, and drill exactly into these…where will the sewage go? It certainly might temporarily ease the pressure at Worthing, but it will not just disappear… just another sticking-plaster to a humongous sore.

    It would make more sense to just pump it 15 miles out into the sea.

    Buy shares in Bottle water companies folks; and start “harvesting” your rain-water too. And for God’s sale: eat less. You know…less input..less output.

  6. Alex Alleyne February 7, 2018 at 7:32 am

    Something as serious as this, in the real world all of you will be fired on the spot.
    But this is how it goes in a “Banana, Plantain, Fig Republic”.

  7. Markus February 7, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Question. How would it take to connect the bypass and are there other alternatives to deal with this problem?

  8. M.D.M. February 7, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Good question Marcus.

    This is an example of a complete failure to do the job correctly. Much of the work should have been done a year ago – or more.
    Meanwhile, these guys “in charge” are still collecting their salary for incompetence.

    This is more than sad – it is a huge embarrassment.

  9. SamPillie February 7, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Nine months ago I said that if a section of the pipe is blocked, they should by-pass that section, clear the blockage and return to normal. The board and senior management should be FIRED as soon as possible and get people in there who understand what is needed. I am convinced that the senior management has lots of theory and was never involved in a trouble-shooting project of this magnitude. I really think that they are scared to tackle the problem and have no GUTS. Fire them now!

  10. Clyde Thompson February 7, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    BWA General Manager Keithroy Halliday is so filled with BS that even him is leaking s**t to the public, he has to admit the truth that the sewage spill is out of control.
    Every fix that has been publicized to date will not work. The problem is like a funnel the system has outgrown itself.

  11. Sue February 7, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    I have commented on this issue before as we visit yearly and were there for 2 weeks in December. We stay in The Gap and saw the bubbling manholes near Big B. I don’t have the right to judge,however,it really,really looks like your present PM and his cronies are incapable of finding a solution here. It comes across as their really not caring or finding this an important matter. It is a Public Health issue. How can they ignore that? Yes,I know Americans can be pushy but if this was happening in a U.S. community there would be an outcry like you would not believe. So sad for the people and the business in that area.

  12. Mack February 7, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I Think that when we got around to fixing this problem, we will not have a tourist Industry.

    I also hope that all of these do nothing people are long out of work.

  13. Greengiant February 7, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    @luther thorne: Many persons left Barbados when Errol Barrow and the D L P won the government for the first time too. Barbados grew without their contribution. So many may leave now too, some if the D L P is returned to office, and others if the B L P replaces them. The country will go from strength to strength without those as well. Some like you are on hunger strike currently (as you had promised) and with all the challenges the country still exist. So maybe they can all leave now, we’ll be better off without all of them.

    • David Brathwaite February 7, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      You can’t be serious. The country will go from strength to strength with the current lot?

      We have ten long desolate years that say otherwise.

  14. Mack February 7, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    If these people can;t fix a burst main in a timely fashion. Do you think that they can resolve this sewage mess anytime soon?????

  15. Alex Alleyne February 7, 2018 at 7:28 pm


  16. John Q February 7, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    So the PM said he had a plan …….. still waiting ..

  17. Cecil Brooks February 7, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    As I write from New Jersey and as a plumber with over twenty five years experience, I always wonder what event in Barbados would have awaken us to the understanding that we need to know how we get our tap drinking water, and what would we have to ask our selves what we need to do to preserve the quality of this water. Living in New Jersey I do not drink any bottle water, all The water I drink from the tap is boiled first and if I am told to do that here, I really do not understand why we who live in Barbados do not do the same. I said that to remind us that we live on a small island only 166 sq miles with a population of over 275,000 plus visitors, that puts at about 1700 people per sq mile, do we understand that we have areas that are more densely populated than others and as one person said we only pump water from certain areas on the island, where does that water comes from? we hear numerous times we depend on rain water, this water falls as rain some goes into the ground some goes into the sea. That water that goes into the ground is the one we need to zero in on. This water makes it way from the highlands and makes its way underground to the sea on its way it mixes with all the waste water (raw sewage) from all those wells we have around our houses along with the more harmful things we used around the house (insecticides, cleaning products, oil by products) we dump in any waste land we can find (vacant lots and gullies), all of those chemicals we put in our fields and all the industrial waste that goes into wells on our business properties. Know all this goes into our drinking water and the limestone under us can only clean so much, at some point we pump up this water add chlorine to it and we are told it has a certain amount of acceptable bacteria so it is safe. I only hope we really wake up, boil all your drinking water and for haven sakes stop spending money on these imported bottle water, because it is in a bottle means it is clean. Another thing we have a lot of roofs in Barbados why are we not collecting that water and using this water for bathing, washing cars etc and most of all watering all our lawn and plants. Have you notice when you water plants with the BWA water it really does nothing for the plants (it full of chemical) but let the rain fall, every plant is green and alive, growth rate increases. If you are like me you can even drink your rain water providing you allow a professional person to install your system. Our government pass laws that houses of a certain size should have water tanks and yet the government did not enforced any kind of policy to show how this water can be kept clean and used for the household, instead we have a lot of houses with tanks full of filthy water, but the BWA is advertising installation of these home tanks in water scarce areas of Barbados and these community tanks which we all know are not the most hygienic and only puts money in greedy people pockets. (NB. I worked for The water Management company (WMC) in Barbados as a Team Leader and these were my observation as I interacted with householders over a 30 month period)


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