For longer than Transportation, Works and Utilities Minister Kye Rymer has been alive, government has been attempting to build the first public sewerage system in East End and Long Look, Mr. Rymer said in November.
Now, his ministry is reviving the effort to connect the community to a Paraquita Bay treatment plant that has never been used since it was completed about five years ago.
“My ministry has been working assiduously on recommencing the long outstanding and critical project for the residents of East End/Long Look,” Mr. Rymer said in the House of Assembly on March 10.
So far, workers have identified a “staging area” where they will store materials, and they are scheduled to begin work at the end of the month on the main sewer lines, with construction expected to last for a year, he explained.
His ministry, he added, managed to source high density polyethylene pipes needed for the installation of force main lines, which he said resulted in significant savings for the government. He did not say where the pipes were sourced.
Though work has yet to begin on the main lines, construction teams have begun to prepare, developing designs for a system of sifting and sorting excavated materials that can then be used during construction, and setting up a site where these materials can be stockpiled, Mr. Rymer said.
“We will be setting out to fence the staging area, procure containers for storage of fittings and material, and conducting a final inventory of material available at the Paraquita Bay site,” he added.
He also encouraged local contractors, heavy equipment operators, and other vendors to register with a database of companies interested in participating in the project.
During his speech in the HOA, Mr. Rymer said that the installation of the mainlines will be done by “local contractors,” but he did not say which ones.
At a re-commissioning ceremony in November, Premier Andrew Fahie announced that, to complete the project, government plans to award at least 40 petty contracts worth nearly $6,142,500.
But for decades, the auditor general and other watchdogs have criticised the practice of splitting large projects into petty contracts under $100,000, which are subject to a less rigorous approval process than larger contracts: Projects exceeding this amount have to be tendered unless Cabinet votes to waive the process.
Auditors have explained that contract splitting often results in subpar and inconsistent results, as such projects often proceed without sufficient oversight, planning and coordination among contractors.
Nevertheless, Mr. Fahie has defended the plan to award 40 petty contracts for the sewerage works, citing legislation passed recently in the HOA that loosens tender rules in emergency situations.
“In the middle of the Covid-19, we recognised that we had to do some adjustments and amendments to the laws and the regulations, so we created a new policy that during pandemics, during emergencies, during disasters, during catastrophic events, that you can allow for these to happen, providing there’s going to be strict project management and some strict vigilance over the project, so that we could be accountable,” he said in November.
Mr. Rymer also announced during the November ceremony that the project will be completed in three phases, with the first consisting of research and preliminary steps such as clearing a staging area and procuring equipment.
The second phase is to consist of installing gravity lines, pumping mains, house lateral pipelines, manholes and pump stations between Parham Town and Paraquita Bay, Mr. Rymer said.
The third phase will entail repairing the outfall lines at Brandywine Bay, and commissioning the wastewater treatment plant and sludge drying beds in Paraquita Bay, the minister announced in November.