Following a more than two-week long delay, Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) Lt. Col. Kester Craig has now said that the capping of the well that erupted in a Diamond resident’s yard is expected to start this week.
On June 16th, the Ministry of the Presidency had indicated that work to recap the well would begin within two days’ time. Craig had later explained that the cleaning and capping were taking longer than planned because the workload was more than they had anticipated in the beginning.
But he told this newspaper on Friday that the preparatory works have been completed to start the capping process after they were able to remove mud from within and around the well using a mud remover and a long boom excavator.
He said that they are currently in the process of constructing a wooden frame that will be used to cover the capped hole. He added that the works should begin by Monday.
When this newspaper visited the site on Friday afternoon, no works were underway, however, an excavator was parked in the street and a neighbour related that workmen had been present earlier. Pipes were strategically placed in the yard and the amount of mud and other debris was significantly reduced, although the odour of gas remained strong in the air, and the well bubbled loudly.
For the capping, an 18-inch casing will be inserted into the hole, followed by a 14-inch diameter casing on the inside, which will then be sealed with concrete. A valve will also be installed and left open so that they can release pressure from the ground. After the sealing is completed, the valve will then be closed. The capping process is expected to be completed within three weeks.
On June 14th, the well erupted, ejecting water, mud and natural gas up to 100 feet in the air. Diamond resident Soownauth ‘Water Man’ Gorakh, had reportedly dug the well some time ago and was using it for domestic purposes.
Gorakh claimed via a statement by the Region Four administration that he and his wife, Tulabhaduree, had attempted to dig the well after experiencing water troubles. The woman claimed that the family has suffered over $20 million in damages.
The Gorakhs’ immediate neighbours also suffered damages of varying degrees.
While Gorakh may be liable to charges from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Hydrometerological Office, a source from the latter had explained that they have not decided on what course of action they are going to take against him.