By Owen Gibson/ The Guardian
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Ruptured WASA main at Trincity: Fingers point at Jusamco
Environment and Water Resources Minister Ganga Singh says contractor Junior Sammy (Jusamco) committed a breach which resulted in a ruptured 48-inch steel Caroni North Trunk Main off the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, near Trincity Mall, on Wednesday afternoon. Singh spoke at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. The incident happened while the contractor was repairing and widening a bridge as part of widening of the highway. He quoted Shereen Alexander, project engineer, as saying that “a specific zone was identified for the contractor to operate within but this area was breached.”
Singh also said Alexander had said “WASA’s pipeline markers were visible to all.” He said an estimated 300,000-400,000 WASA customers were affected as their water supply was disrupted.
Emergency repair work started late on Wednesday and was expected to be completed by midnight last night. The main was ruptured while the contractor, hired by the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, was engaged in piling work to reconstruct and widen the Arouca River Bridge, which is part of the overall Churchill-Roosevelt Highway Expansion Project. Singh said a truck-borne supply was initiated but priority was being given to health institutions, schools and special groups.
Asked what penalty was to be imposed on the company for the incident, Singh said: “In a case where there is this rupture, done outside the remit of the contract and we have to mobilise and repair this and there is significant cost, the normal practice is to bill the Ministry of Works as the client of the contractor and the ministry will have its own retrieval system to retrieve the money expended.” He said the cost of repairing the ruptured main would be known by today. In response to another question, Singh said: “It had to do with management and supervision on the ground. On a job site a lot can go wrong if there isn’t proper supervision.”
WASA SAYS: A statement from WASA yesterday said it expected full restoration of service to affected areas by today. Customers were advised to manage their water-use efficiently. A limited truck-borne water service is available with priority being given to health institutions, special homes and schools. For further information customers are encouraged to contact WASA’s Customer Call Centre toll free at 800 4420/4426.
Communities affected: St Augustine, Curepe, Champs Fleurs, Mt D’Or, Farm Road, St Joseph, Petit Bourg, Valsayn South, Bamboo, Mt Hope Hospital, Aranguez, San Juan, El Socorro, Santa Cruz, Morvant, Barataria, Laventille, Beetham Gardens, Belmont, Port-of-Spain, Cascade, Cocorite and Western Main Road, St James.
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