Beetham sewage repair delayed again after TTEC worker falls


A WASA employee uses a power saw to cut a cylindrical pipeline as work continues to repair a ruptured sewere pipeline at Beetham Gardens, Port of Spain, on Monday. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THE WATER and Sewerage Authority (WASA) says Beetham Gardens, Port of Spain, residents will have to wait yet another week before repairs to an underground sewer pipeline can be completed as workmen have encountered further difficulties on the project.

The ruptured line has been a source of major disruption and discomfort to residents in the area since last August and has caused a portion of Main Street to collapse into a large sinkhole. By September, the sinkhole had become 15 feet wide and 25 feet deep. Since then it has continued to grow. At least two people have accidentally fallen into it.

The damaged sewage system has also caused sewage to spout from manholes in the area and back up into the homes of residents.

The latest delay was confirmed by WASA chairman Ravindra Nanga in a telephone conversation with Newsday on Tuesday. WASA’s communications unit later said an official statement explaining the delay would be released on Wednesday.

Prior to this, repairs were expected to be completed during the first week of February after being subject to four previous delays.

Contacted by Newsday for comment, Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales said the latest work stoppage was caused by an accident at the work site. A Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission worker became injured after a fall and had to be hospitalised last week.

TTEC had been called in to assist with the project in late January after WASA workers discovered a high-voltage electrical line in the repair path of the sewer pipeline.

Last week’s accident was reported to the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OSHA) which then launched an investigation.

Gonzales said, “During the investigations, OSHA had asked WASA to suspend work temporarily for it to conduct its investigation so it can work out some protocols to ensure adequate safety on the site for workers.”

He said work resumed on Tuesday morning and the project is now between 90 and 95 per cent complete.

“Just one concrete manhole has to be done to complete the interconnections and then we do the road restoration.”

Gonzales said, despite his injuries, the TTEC worker was recovering well and remained in good spirits.

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