Much of North Trinidad woke up to dry taps yesterday and this may continue today after a major pipeline along the Beetham Highway burst on Sunday.
WASA workers were out from as early as 6 am yesterday as they attempted to repair ruptured 36-inch diameter transmission main along the Beetham Highway.
The pipeline services most of the East-West Corridor which feeds almost 250,000 customers.
Minister of Public Utilities Robert Le Hunte visited the site yesterday and explained the extent of the situation. “We had a major leak happening on one of our transmission lines that brings water from Caroni up to Port-of-Spain. The way how the water system works, about 35 million gallons a day, Caroni produces about 70 million gallons and half of that production is what is used to service the people of north Trinidad.”
Among the areas affected as a result of the leak are Cocorite, Morvant, Gonzales, St Augustine, Mt Dor, Bamboo, El Socorro, Port-of-Spain, Santa Cruz, Laventille, Belmont, Curepe, Petit Bourg, San Juan, Beetham Gardens, Cascade, Champs Fleur, Valsayn South and Aranguez. The Piarco International Airport and the Eric Williams Medical Science Complex were also affected by the rupture.
Several schools in Port-of-Spain were dismissed early as a result of the lack of water. Fatima College sent home students at 10 am while officials of the Ministry of Education confirmed other schools opted to send home pupils by midday.
Le Hunte was hopeful the work would be completed by this morning. He said the pipeline was close to 40 years old and believes the rupture was caused by corrosion over time. He said he had hoped more could have been done to upgrade aged pipelines.
“As the Minister, I take responsibility, I apologise for this inconvenience. WASA has a contingency plan, we are getting a truckborne supply out immediately to all the schools, all the hospitals,” Le Hunte said.
He explained that residents of Cascade and St Ann’s would be doubly affected by the leak.
“They had some other problems from Thursday with some wells not producing water. When we resolved the problem on Sunday afternoon it was compounded by this problem, so the people in the Cascade, St Ann’s area will continue to have problems.”
Le Hunte said while the work is expected to be completed this morning it will take some time for the water pressure to normalise. He also explained that in some cases the water would be dirty upon its initial return.
In a release yesterday, WASA also confirmed the rupture and estimated service to be restored within 36 hours.