Plan in pipeline to expand water networks

An engineering project to expand water networks is under consideration by the Government.

The Ministry of Public Works — through the Bermuda Housing Corporation — asked for submissions from consultants to develop a business case for a new water, wastewater and resource recovery utility.

A request for proposals said: “The utility would be responsible for replacing failing infrastructure as well as expanding water and wastewater networks in parts of the island, developing a new wastewater treatment plant and rehabilitating the Tynes Bay waste-to-energy facility, which would supply energy to, produce drinking water and burn sludge from, the new WWTP.”

The RFP included a graphic that showed proposed sewage pump stations at the Botanical Gardens and in the East End as well as “expanded water distribution” on North Shore.

The request said that the Tynes Bay plant was “nearing the end of its useful life and must be rehabilitated within the next two to three years”.

It added: “Increased frequency and length of droughts have led to water supply shortages for the many Bermudian households that rely on rooftop rainwater collection, which is replaced with trucked water sourced from government trucking distribution outlets.

“There is a need in these situations for significant amounts of supplementary water.”

The RFP said the project was also designed to tackle sea pollution and “frequent bathing water quality issues”.

It added: “The Government needs to ensure that bathing water quality meets international standards and provisions are in place to reduce the risk of untreated sewage being released into the coastal environment.”

The document said underground water and wastewater networks were “failing” and added that “a majority of the existing piped infrastructure is ageing and deteriorating”.

A “lack of appropriately applied resources” was also listed as a problem.

The RFP said: “Institutional responsibilities overlap, with government entities, city councils, quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations, and the private sector all providing services.”

It added: “The Government of Bermuda is fiscally challenged, having reached a substantial debt ceiling with little appetite or ability to increase it.”

The RFP added that the ministry commissioned a water and wastewater master plan study for St George’s in 2015, which recommended the integration and extension of the parish’s systems as well as the creation of a utility to run the network.

It added that the ministry had since looked at expansion of the project to include other areas and the rehabilitation of the Tynes Bay plant.

The RFP said that the scheme involved:

• Construction of an infrastructure corridor from the southwest of Devonshire to the east of St David’s Island

• A new wastewater treatment plant at Tynes Bay

• A revamp of the waste-to-energy plant

• Sewage pumped from east to central along the corridor, where it would be treated at the new plant

• Re-routed sewers in the Mary Victoria and Cedar Park neighbourhoods and the City of Hamilton so that sewage is treated at the new plant

• The pumping of effluent water from central to the east for use in St George’s Parish, and for irrigation and fire fighting

• The addition of new water connections along North Shore and on the islands of St George’s and St David’s

The document said: “Energy from the WTE facility will power the new WWTP and existing seawater desalination plant and any necessary pumping.

“Sludge — biomass — from the new WWTP will be incinerated in the WTE.”

The RFP, issued last week with a deadline of July 24, said the aim was to “engage a consulting firm to develop the justification for the project”.

Part of the work would be to outline the scheme in detail to help work out the cost.

The document said that the BHC issued the RFP, but that it would “not be involved in any implementation or operation” of the proposed scheme.

It added that discussions had been held with interested parties, but that the consultant would be expected to advise the ministry on communication with organisations and that talks were expected to include at least two town-hall style meetings.

The successful consultant will be expected to develop a 20-year demand forecast for each service covered by the project and to prepare a financial plan.

The RFP added that the Ministry of Public Works was “assessing the viability of establishing a regulatory body for the sector”.

It said: “That is being addressed through a separate business case and is not part of the scope of this assignment.”