BVI News

Prepare to pay sewerage bills — Turnbull warns

Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull

Residents in Cane Garden Bay (CGB) have been warned that there is a price they will pay for the new sewerage plant being proposed for the community.

The new plant has a price tag of more than $1 million and is geared at alleviating the sewerage woes of residents in the area. Work on the plant is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2018.

The sewerage problem that Cane Garden Bay residents have had to endure for years is mainly as a result of an outdated, two-decade-old plant that is being used to treat 35 lift/pump stations to a growing community.

Sewage lift/pump stations are used for pumping wastewater or sewage from a lower elevation to a higher one.

“I want you to anticipate, I am telling you ahead of time so whenever it does roll out… you don’t say ‘they never told me’. There is going to be a cost, eventually, down the line… That stuff costs money. It is not going to be free,” Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull told residents last week.

Following his statement, there was a low murmur among the crowd, with an apparent mixture of concern and surprise. However, Turnbull was quick to assure them.

“We are talking about six to eight months down the road when the system is fully implemented,” he said.

Project cost likely to increase

Turnbull is also anticipating an increase in the cost of the project by a few hundred thousand.

“The project [is] estimated to cost 1.5 or $1.6 million. That just includes the project. It does not include the roadways… We are probably going to look at an [overall] project that is going to cost anywhere between $1.6 and $1.9 million to get the entire roadways properly paved [with] drainage and everything.”

Price will not be excessive

Also addressing the price issue, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works, Jeremy Hodge said the price of sewerage will be included in water bills.

“It is not going to be something astronomical. But, these new tertiary systems are frightfully expensive to build and to maintain … Five percent or 10 percent of your water bill will be sewerage,” he said.

A call to the Water and Sewerage Department confirmed that presently, residents are not paying for sewerage.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Communications and Works, Jeremy Hodge.

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  1. Diplomat says:

    Oh boy, here we go again! Why every capital project in the BVI seems to have a baseline cost of $1M and there is always change orders out of the ball park? Why when publishing project cost, the full cost is not presented? This is sloppy and incomplete work and treating us like sh…t? Is the current process severely flawed and lacks public confidence in it? Yes.

    Is there a standard process for assessing sewage/wastewater charges? Is it based on the square footage of the property ? Is the cost to businesses calculated differently? What is the criteria and cannot it be release to the public for perusal? Is the assessed cost based on water usage? What if one is not connected to the public water supply?

    What is the base charge, if any, for being connected to the sewage system? Will the cost for CGB residents be different than other areas? Is the WSD using a system approach to manage sewage system? What is the maximum response time for addressing sewage issues?

    • Worker Bee says:

      Okay, so let’s not beat around the bush.
      $1 Million estimate = $5 million actual after the government gets done with it all.
      Sound about right?

  2. Arrogance says:

    Mitch you all have over spent money on the cruise pier and a number of different initiatives that has broke the country.

    And now you telling the people that this sewage plant is expensive and we must prepare to pay like u all doing the people a favor. It is the Government responsibility to provide a way for sewage to go.

    You want to tell me the government can spend over 250 million on an airport but cant subsidize a sewage treatment plant and the cost to run it so it dont strangle the people who are recovering from the hurricanes.

    And the leader of opposition just stuck on the recovery plan these issues he talks nothing about or the medical services on the outer islands.

  3. Thought says:

    Got that big fancy hotel going up with lots of fancy bathrooms. Send them a big ol bill

  4. But of course says:

    Of course residents will be paying a sewer bill soon. It is only a matter of time.

  5. Sam the man says:

    Of course there should be a levy for sewerage just as there is for water/gas if delivered…people should pay for the service – v surprised they haven’t paid before…maybe that’s why the system was so crap – excuse the pun

  6. Deeper says:

    No more free lunch!

  7. E. Leonard says:

    Sewage/wastewater is typically a water utility like water and storm water (drainage) utilities; a three-leg water utility stool. Their construction, maintenance, operations and capitalization are funded directly by users/consumers; their costs are tallied and distributed among customers. Question: are all customers within the service area required to be connected to the sewer system? However, given the small size of the customer base, the cost to cover the full cost may be too high and burden some for customers.

    Thus, government will have to fund a portion of operations and maintenance of the sewage system/plant from other revenue streams. Another option is to calculate the total sewerage sydtem cost island- wide/territory-wide and distribute the cost among all users./all customers connected to the system. Businesses are normally assessed a higher rate.

    This procedure may improve sewage collection, transmission and treatment; provide more funding and staffing, and lower the overall cost among customers. Moreover, the utility can be staffed with at least three utility commissioners for all utilities, ie, water and storm water.

    Perhaps, the sewage utility needs to be reviewed and restructured. This may require a consultant with sewage utility establishment experience. Part of the consultant tasking could be utility financing. Further, if a sewage master plan is not already developed and implemented, a master plan is needed. Addiotinally, the BVI needs tertiary (advanced) sewage treatment and all residents and visitors need to pay for it. The water is critical to land-and water-based tourism, 1/2 of the economic twin pillars, and it needs to be preserved and protected.

  8. ky says:

    “visitors need to pay for it”. Might as well have the visitors pay for it, squeeze the last cent out of the golden goose before it goes away forever. Visitors paying for everything. Think it’s time for a REALISTIC income tax, sales and property tax to pay for all this foolishness.

  9. Sam the man says:

    well put E Leonard

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