The Water and Sewerage Corporation released a statement on Wednesday, following the collapse of the bridge connecting Spanish Wells and Russell Island off the northern tip of mainland Eleuthera, updating residents on the status of the water supply within the community, which had been compromised as a result of the collapse.
The statement also gave an update on the status of the stalled Reverse Osmosis Plant located in North Eleuthera, which was scheduled to have come online early in 2019, to replace the poor quality of water currently being delivered by the Corporation to communities in North Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells/Russell Island.
Since the release of the statement from WSC, Chief Councillor, with the Spanish Wells District Council, Mr. Robert Roberts, confirmed that on Thursday morning, May 7th, 2020 a team from Water and Sewerage was in Spanish Wells, working with members of the community to get the water supply back up. He expressed anticipation of the water service resuming later on Thursday afternoon.
Plans were also being made to begin working on a temporary causeway sometime on Friday, May 8th, 2020, he explained, saying, “We still have to move back and forth, because, the garbage dump is over there and the power company is over there, along with Island Block, and you’ve got to keep people moving. You can’t press the pause button.”
The WSC statement read as follows:
“The Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) takes note of collapse of the Roderick Higgs Bridge which connects Russell Island and Spanish Wells.
Given the collapse of the bridge, we have capped our supply. The Corporation’s local teams have capped our water line and an additional team will be dispatched to Eleuthera tomorrow to assist with addressing any challenges arising due to the bridge collapse.
WSC continues to provide reliable, potable water to the people of Eleuthera. The facts surrounding our new Reverse Osmosis Plant are laid out below.
In our efforts to improve capacity and our ability to supply North Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Spanish Wells and Russell Island, the Corporation determined to have a new, state-of-the-art reverse osmosis plant constructed. This multimillion-dollar plant will serve as the Corporation’s largest RO plant on the Family Islands and third largest overall.
Notably, the company charged with constructing the plant had various delays during construction. WSC expected delivery of the plant in January, 2019. When that did not occur, WSC issued weekly letters, which levied accrued liquidated damages of $500 per day.
Early this year, this company indicated that they had also experienced challenges with the final phase of electrification of the facility. The Executive Chairman made an intervention on their behalf with Minister Bannister and BPL CEO Whitney Heastie to ensure that final electrification needs were addressed.
In recent weeks, WSC has inspected the location, with a follow-up team scheduled to travel to Eleuthera this week. Upon final inspection and sign off, WSC/the contractor will commence water production and bring on stream this major undertaking.
WSC also notes that over the last two years, extensive work has been undertaken in South, Central and North Eleuthera. The Corporation has carried out nearly 30 multimillion-dollar projects that range from non-revenue water works to new RO plants to refurbishing storage tanks to extensive and/or change out of water mains to opening new offices, etcetera.
North Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells have had a number of those projects, including a recent undertaking where WSC carried out a major overhaul to the distribution system (pipe works) in Harbour Island.”
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