– 16 around country for rehab
Residents of Diamond, East Bank Demerara, and surrounding areas can now feel a slight relief as the well, that has been giving problems, has been temporarily fixed and CEO of GWI Richard Van West-Charles said that by the end of the year the area should be equipped with another well.
“Diamond has been very problematic with the breakdown and I want to reiterate our apologies to the citizens of Diamond and the surroundings who are served by the single well that exists there,” Van West-Charles said, recalling the breakdown of the well some three months ago, which was subsequently fixed by engineering company Nabi.
The well started giving problems again several weeks ago and Van West-Charles explained that because the breaking down of the well coincided with the defects liability period, Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) did not have to use the same amount of money. “The contractor worked with us and we had a collective effort so that we were able to bring the well back into a temporary position whereby it can produce water,” he pointed out, explaining that they were able to make a more definitive diagnosis in relation to the problems with the well.
Van West-Charles revealed that the Diamond well’s casing—along with 16 other wells around the country—was facing problems of corrosion. He said they hoped the temporary solution will hold for about four months and a contract will be tendered out within the coming weeks for the construction of a new well for Diamond. “So what we have agreed to do is to proceed to drill a new well in Diamond and our engineers, collectively, will be out there early this week to agree on a site where the well should be drilled,” he said, stating that the new well would be expected to be completed within four months and once it is in operation, they would be able to spend another week and a half to properly fix the current one.
“By the end of about four and a half months Diamond will be probably 80-90% satisfied with production and in addition to that, out of the IDB [Inter-American Development Bank] funded project we expect an additional well with a treatment plant,” he added, explaining that the current population of Diamond has grown too large to be depending on one well. However, while the treatment plant will not come to life soon, he said the company will put in some additional treatment to ensure that the iron content of the water is very low and it will also be disinfected on a daily basis. “One well would never suffice with the expanded population in Diamond,” he said.
He also pointed out that the situation with the Diamond well was as a result of bad planning and if the previous administration had planned better the problem could have been averted.
“We want to ensure that the water is free of bacteria so we have added another facility to treat this water with a new product called Antinfect,” he said, stating that the new product has a longer residual than chlorine and has proven to give “very, very good” results in terms of the treatment. He added that in addition to GWI labs testing the water, it would be sent to two other labs so that the citizens can “have some sort of comfort in using the water.”
Van West-Charles pointed out that 16 other wells around the country have also been troublesome and have been giving out a low quality of water. “We have to move very quickly to do a complete rehabilitation and that will cost us more than $200 million and so the residents will have to bear with us because what we are trying to avert is the collapse of these wells,” he said.
With respect to water quality, Van West-Charles explained that they have started to look at several areas around Georgetown as they have been having problems with “red water” and they discovered that the filter systems were not in the best conditions. “So we have started with the replacement in central Ruimveldt and Sophia,” he said, pointing out that they have replaced six filters in Sophia and have added 10 inches of filter sand and better water quality is expected.
“They had invited me to a meeting two Sundays ago and we had a discussion and it is evident that the difficulties experienced by this population is significant and a decision has been made by the chairman of the board for us to proceed to drill another well in Sophia and we hope to move to tender within another week and a half,” he said, pointing out that the company is trying to avoid having the citizens with prolonged water woes.