Water and Housing Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the Ministry has taken steps to address what he has described as “shoddy reinstatement works” on sections of roadways in upper St. Andrew that were dug up by contractors to facilitate the laying of central waste water pipelines.
The roads affected are located in the general Barbican/Paddington Terrace area.
Speaking with journalists following a tour of the project area on Wednesday (Oct. 13), Dr. Chang voiced concern over the quality of work done by the contractors over the last four months, which he contended, was below standard.
This, he said, was evident by the extent of damage to the areas during torrential rains associated with Tropical Storm Nicole some two weeks ago.
“What we have here in this area is several bits of work which, either took too long or, in terms of quality, was poor. We are confident that the pipes are being laid well, but.the reinstatement (of the roads that were dug up) has been a failure, and therefore, we have had to take steps to correct this,” he said.
The damage to the roadway and the work being done to fix it, have caused major inconvenience to the road users, for which the Minister apologised. Dr. Chang explained that sewer work being done at Barbican/Paddington Terrace is part of a broader central waste water development being undertaken in the Corporate Area by the Ministry, through implementing agency, the National Water Commission (NWC).
Water and Housing Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang (right) listens as President of the National Water Commission (NWC), E.G. Hunter, explains the extent of reinstatement works being undertaken along Barbican Road, St. Andrew, where central waste water pipe lines have been laid to serve householders and businesses in that area. Occasion was a tour of the area today (Oct.13) to assess the work being done.
Noting that most of Kingston and St. Andrew “was built with on-site waste water disposal”, the Minister said a central waste water system is necessary as “we cannot maintain that for much longer.”
“On-site wastewater disposal with septic tanks and pits lead to contamination of our underground water resources. It also restricts development in the areas that have no central wastewater treatment, and, given the ongoing growth and development of the Corporate Area, if we are to ensure effective and proper planning, and sustainable development., we have to introduce central wastewater collections systems,” he argued.
He noted however that the reinstatement of roads after such work has been done, must be of high quality. He explained that unlike water lines, the laying of sewer pipes is a much more technical process as they are usually much deeper. In addition, he said, most of these lines in Barbican are running between 18 and 25 feet underground, so the reinstatement work has to be meticulous. “So, it requires much more precision in everything they do,” he said.
Dr. Chang disclosed that, already, the Ministry and the NWC have had “extensive discussions” with the National Works Agency (NWA) to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to outline “what is required and how it should be done,” as well as an inspection protocol, “that I expect to be maintained.”
The Minister said he would be “holding” the NWC to that, adding that the NWA will be invited to be a part of that process, “so that we can ensure the work is done as required.”
Water and Housing Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang (left), and National Water Commission (NWC) President, E.G. Hunter today (Oct.13) toured a section of Barbican Road, St. Andrew, central waste water pipe lines have been laid, to serve householders and businesses in that area.
Further, Dr. Chang said he will be convening a meeting with all of the contractors involved in the projects at his office on October 20, to discuss the Ministry’s concerns with them.
“In addition to that, I have instructed the NWC to indicate to the National Contracts Commission (NCC), what some of our concerns were, so that they can monitor the quality of work and, if contractors fail to perform satisfactorily, then the NCC, based on our own reports, can have good reason to de-register or reduce the level of their registration on the Contracts Commission list,” the Minister informed.
The Barbican/Paddington project, which includes work at College Green, is executed under five contracts valued upwards of $100 million.
The scope of works primarily entail the removal of individual treatment plants within that area, and the connection of domestic and commercial sewage systems to one central line, leading to the Soapberry wastewater treatment facility in St. Catherine.