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East End water supply to get $5m revamp

A “huge undertaking” to produce fresh water and treat sewage will start with a $5 million project in the East End, the House of Assembly heard yesterday.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said that the island-wide redevelopment would give the two municipalities an alternative to pumping waste into the sea.

He told MPs that a steering committee, in collaboration with the Bermuda Land Development Company, “initiated a project that would provide potable water, sanitary sewer and reclaimed water infrastructure to the areas of Southside, the islands of St David's and St George's which includes the new St Regis Hotel”.

Colonel Burch added: “It is envisioned that this project will serve as the template for an island-wide water and wastewater master plan, with the above being Phase 1.

“Phase 1 has a very aggressive timeline with requirements for all works, including the potable water, sanitary sewer and reclaimed water connections, to be undertaken at the St Regis Hotel site by December 31, 2020.

“To assist in delivering on the project requirements the BLDC has retained Milhouse Engineering & Construction of Chicago to provide programme management and some engineering services.”

Colonel Burch said that Onsite Engineering, a Bermuda firm, was retained to provide support services.

He added that Milhouse started on the project in February and set out seven work packages that make up Phase 1, which was expected to mean between four and seven island contractors will take part in construction at the same time.

Colonel Burch said that there was a plan to train and vet Bermudians to carry out specialist fusion welding — a “critical component” of the project.

He added: “The scheme also plans to bring a training firm to the island as soon as possible to provide manufacturer training and certification to Bermudians.”

Colonel Burch told the House that, as well as talks with government departments, meetings were held with the Corporation of St George, management at The St George's Club and Hotelco, the company behind the St Regis development.

He said that the tendering process was expected to happen next month.

Colonel Burch added: “The project budget amount for these seven packages is $5 million.

“A financial feasibility report for Phase 1 has been completed and delivered to BLDC and is being used to raise capital for the construction phase of the project.

“Both local and international financing entities are being considered.”

Colonel Burch said: “The Tynes Bay waste-to-energy facility and the Corporation of Hamilton form an intricate part of the overall plan.

“It is envisioned that the Tynes Bay site would incorporate a new sewage treatment plant that would receive the sewage waste from the Corporation of Hamilton and the Corporation of St George, both of which are pumping sewage waste into our pristine marine environment — a practice that must stop in Bermuda as a First World nation.

“Not only that, but as an island that depends on rain water for the majority of its fresh water supply and as we enter a new era of global warming, we should change our perception of sewage from that of a waste product, to rather a renewable resource that should be recovered but that we are now simply throwing away.”

He added that the treatment plant would process sewage into non-potable — non-drinking — water that could be used for irrigation or flushing.

Colonel Burch said that the plant would be powered by the WTE facility, which would use sludge from the sewage treatment plant as fuel.

He added: “Power from Tynes Bay would then be used to produce increased amounts of potable water via the already existing seawater reverse osmosis plant and non-potable water from the sewage plant, which would then in turn be sold as revenue streams for the new utility.”

Colonel Burch said: “In essence, the Tynes Bay facility would cease to be simply a waste-to-energy plant and become a fully integrated waste and water recovery utility that would produce fresh water from the garbage and sewage.

“It is our hope that such a novel concept would not only be beneficial to the revitalisation and longevity of the island's waste and water infrastructure, but would be attractive to outside investors looking for green and blue initiatives that protect the environment, while producing a positive return for their investors.”

He added: “We recognise that this is a huge undertaking that will take several years to complete, but we believe that it sets us on a path of environmentally addressing wastewater needs and provides both municipalities the opportunity to address, once and for all, the better alternative to dealing with their sewage waste than dumping it into the ocean.”

To the statement from the Minister of Public works, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works (File photograph)

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Published July 25, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 25, 2020 at 7:22 am)

East End water supply to get $5m revamp

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