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CGB Sewerage Project expected to begin in third quarter of 2018

- Resident hopes it is not another project that will start & stop at the middle
The Cane Garden Bay Sewerage Project is expected to start in the third quarter of this year and completed before the year 2018 ends. Photo: VINO
Technical Consultant for the Water and Sewerage Department Mr Walton Keith Smith addresses the public meeting at the Cane Garden Bay Methodist Church on January 25, 2018. Photo: VINO
Technical Consultant for the Water and Sewerage Department Mr Walton Keith Smith addresses the public meeting at the Cane Garden Bay Methodist Church on January 25, 2018. Photo: VINO
Second District Representative Hon Melvin M. Turnbull, left, makes a point at the public meeting at the Cane Garden Bay Methodist Church on January 25, 2018. Standing right is Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Mr Jeremy W. Hodge. Photo: VINO
Second District Representative Hon Melvin M. Turnbull, left, makes a point at the public meeting at the Cane Garden Bay Methodist Church on January 25, 2018. Standing right is Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Mr Jeremy W. Hodge. Photo: VINO
Coordinator for the National Water and Sewerage Upgrade Project Mr Andy O. Phillip makes his presentation on the proposed Sewerage Project in Cane Garden Bay. Photo: VINO
Coordinator for the National Water and Sewerage Upgrade Project Mr Andy O. Phillip makes his presentation on the proposed Sewerage Project in Cane Garden Bay. Photo: VINO
The existing Cane Garden Bay Sewerage Plant was damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Photo: VINO
The existing Cane Garden Bay Sewerage Plant was damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Photo: VINO
CANE GARDEN BAY, Tortola, VI- Residents of Cane Garden Bay, on the main island of Tortola, were told they could have a new and fully optimised and automated sewerage system in their community before the end of 2018, bringing an end to sewage on the streets and untreated sewage being discharged into the ocean.

This was announced at a public meeting at the Cane Garden Bay Methodist Church on January 26, 2018. The main presenters were Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Mr Jeremy W. Hodge, Coordinator for the National Water and Sewerage Upgrade Project Mr Andy O. Phillip, and Technical Consultant for the Water and Sewerage Department Mr Walton Keith Smith. The consultative session was chaired by Second District Representative Hon Melvin M. Turnbull.

The new sewerage system is estimated to cost $1.5M to about $1.6M and it was noted that after input from residents and results of environmental impact assessments, additional expenses may be incurred.

Old system has become inefficient

Residents were told that the existing sewerage system has some 35 pump stations, along with manholes, pressure mains and a treatment plant, which had the capacity to handle some 32, 000 gallons of sewage per day. The already ailing system was damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria and Government is in the process of “retrofitting” the existing system to get it up to about 50-60% capacity. The sea outfall is about 700 feet from the coastline.

According to Mr Phillip, the old system has many moving parts, which has a high demand for electricity and makes it costly. This is in addition to the system becoming inefficient due to the increased demands over the years. “Inefficiency means it is using more electricity to do even less work. That is the situation where we are right now.”

It was also disclosed that the recent failure of the lift stations due to the hurricanes has resulted in daily pumping of sewage using sewerage trucks and that now is incurring an additional cost.

Frequent power outages also create the risk of overflowing of sewage due to the system of so many pumps.

“Without the plant working at a tertiary level which is required when doing sea outfall, the effluent would not be properly treated. This is one of the contributing factors to the water quality issues that we have in the Cane Garden Bay area. And I am saying one because there might be other contributing factors that may not be addressed by the sewage treatment plant.”

New system

The proposed sewerage system, according to the presenters, will double the capacity of the existing plant while consisting of fewer pump stations. “What we will be doing is collecting sewage in various areas, get [it] to the low point and then pump it to the next section where we collect sewage again and then pump it until we get to the treatment plant,” Mr Phillip said.

He added that due to the terrain of the Cane Garden Bay area, only 7 pump stations would be required for the new system.

There will be 12-inch gravity mains that will have enough capacity to ensure that the waste water and sewage flow into the manholes and into the pump stations without any hindrances and blockages. Six-inch pressure mains will be used for each segment of the pumping lines.

The long term solution, according to Mr Phillip, is to have a tertiary level waste water treatment plant that would be able to treat the full sewage flows from the community at a quality that would meet World Health Organisation (WHO) standards and that would be safe to release into the outfall. “So that the quality on the beach for bathing, recreation, fishing and everything would not be impacted.”

Mr Phillip said they were confident what is being proposed so far is very feasible but want to get the designs as well as other factors right before presenting the final proposal to the relevant ministers for their approval.

The project, which will be funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is expected to start in the third quarter of 2018 and completed before the year is out, according to Mr Hodge, who said an earlier start is possible.

It was said that local contractors could bid to undertake the project when it goes out to tender.

Would this be a start & stop project?

One resident wanted to know whether the project would be another incomplete project, while another person supported his concerns, stating that it is a known fact that projects are usually stopped or held up whenever Government changes in the Virgin Islands.

“What I noticed about Government projects is they start and they stop at the middle and then they go dead. So I hope this is not one of the projects that would start and stop,” a resident stated.

“No, this will be completed and done properly, hence the time we are taking to make sure everything is taken into consideration,” Mr Hodge responded.

The resident further said he appreciated the idea of doing the new sewerage system properly but “that is one of my main concern. That it is not stopped in the middle. I know what I am talking about because I have been on several Government projects, and it’s like when you out a fire under a pot…What I have heard sounds good but I like to see action.”

“And you will get action,” Mr Hodge replied.

7 Responses to “CGB Sewerage Project expected to begin in third quarter of 2018”

  • ... (26/01/2018, 17:06) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    More talk they Just Trying to keep Mitch from switching
  • Hmm (26/01/2018, 17:24) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    The 3rd quarter of the year is September. You know, the month were we see the worst storm. The month of Irma and Maria that destroyed everything.

    I pray the Lord spares us this year but what do you think would happen should even a gust of wind blow come September? Excuses, excuses.
  • NezRez (26/01/2018, 18:29) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree they must get the sewage working completely correct so they can reopen and keep us safe and healthy, but the time frame to reopen is when hurricane season is at full blast. Well, we all must deal with the upcoming hurricane season and hope it’s nothing like last year for anyone. For now locals and tourists are at other beaches and thank goodness we have so many to use.
  • Socrates (27/01/2018, 10:33) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    What is the estimated cost of the project, including design, construction, inspection, land acquisition........etc? Who or what Engineering-Architectural (A-E) firm is designing the plant? What is the design time? What is the current status of the project? Is the funding for the project earmarked in CDB loan specifically for CGB Sewage Treatment Plant? Has the HOA voted on the project and its funding? How much modification/change order is anticipated for this project? What does the WSD mean that the project will be automated?

    Will this mean there will be no 24-hour on site operators? Will the system have a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition(SCADA) system? Why is sewage being conveyed to low spots to be pumped to the plant? Is the design employing gravity flow to the making extent practical?


    Will the construction contract include maintenance and repair training for operators? What temporary measures, if any, is being used to prevent discharge of effluent, polluting/contaminating the sea? How regularly will test be conducted? Daily? Will signs be posted reflecting when it is not safe to swim, fish.......etc in the water?
  • robert (27/01/2018, 10:42) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Since CGB has been closed, I don’t need to go back to the overcrowded beach. I have been visiting other beaches and find them to be soothing a not crowded. I take my family and cooler all over and it makes a big difference having so many choices. If the other beaches have vendors, we buy from them with pleasure. I was so used to going to CGB that I never really ventured too far away from home, but now I do and it feels like a staycation. Many of my friends feel the same way, how come we never ventured too far away? Now we have new beaches for snorkeling, floating, relaxing etc, without boats and crowd in our faces all the time. I feel ashamed for not doing this sooner and I am born and raised here in CGB.
  • See (27/01/2018, 18:15) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    So what happened to the OFFICIAL statement that was going to be released concerning the water condition at CGB ? I think the answer is obvious .... for your safety ...find another beach for now
  • Renee (31/01/2018, 22:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This sewerage problem has opened the eyes of quite a few people. After talking about the problem, we all wish CGB the best of luck recovering from those horrible storms, but we won’t be going back much. The truth is it is far, too much of a strain on our brakes, too crowded, not relaxing anymore to lay quietly on the beach. There are so many more to choose from and we take our coolers everywhere and it is lovely and peaceful. CGB is for tourists who come once, enjoy themselves and leave, which is still good for them to make a continuous income.


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