The sewage treatment plant at Burt Point was first commissioned in 2015, and it operated at partial capacity until it was knocked offline by Hurricane Irma in 2017. After recent repairs, officials said it is now operating again — this time at full capacity. (Photo: GIS)

The Burt Point sewage treatment plant is operational again for the first time since it sustained major damage during Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Extensive repairs on the facility were completed recently by Biwater International Limited — the contractor that built the plant and a similar one in Paraquita Bay — under a $2.6 million contract approved by Cabinet in August 2020 and signed two years laterNata

The relaunch was announced Friday at a livestreamed ceremony where speakers included Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley, Communications and Works Minister Kye Rymer, opposition member Julian Fraser, and Biwater contractor Richard Smith.

“The plant, which was previously out of service, has now been upgraded and is fully operational, providing tertiary-level sewage treatment for the surrounding community,” Mr. Rymer said in a press release published after the ceremony. “This service extension encompasses areas such as Baughers Bay, Free Bottom, Purcell, Huntums Ghut, Horsepath, Long Bush, Road Town, and surrounding areas, ensuring improved sanitation and environmental protection.”

Full capacity

Mr. Rymer said servicing Road Town is a new addition for the plant, which previously operated only at partial capacity after it was first commissioned in 2015. Now, however, the plant is operating at full capacity for the first time, according to Duane Fraites, chief of infrastructural planning, research and development for the Ministry of Communications and Works. The facility, he said, is designed to accommodate approximately 15,000 people.

Though reporters weren’t invited to the Friday ceremony, a related press conference is scheduled for today, according to government Communications Director Karia Christopher.

‘Delayed is not denied’

The repair project has faced multiple delays since the contract was approved in 2020.

In October 2022, Mr. Rymer said that materials would be shipped by the following January and the repairs would be completed by May 2023.

By September 2023, $2,341,065.86 had been spent on the project, and the minister said at the time that the plant would be online in October of that year.

During the Friday ceremony, Mr. Rymer blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for some of the delays.

Mr. Fraites told the Beacon this week that delays in shipments of materials from overseas also contributed to the prolonged wait time. He added that unforeseen repair issues were an additional challenge.

On Friday, Dr. Wheatley addressed the delays as well.

“Delayed is not denied,” he said during the livestreamed ceremony. “Of course, we know sometimes these things take longer than we want [them] to. But the minister for communications and works and this entire government will remain resilient.”

Paraquita Bay

Meanwhile, a contractor has recently commenced repair work on the Paraquita Bay sewage treatment plant, which was completed around the same time as the Burt Point facility but has never operated, Mr. Fraites said.

The target date for completion of that project is the fourth quarter of 2025, he added.