$240M drainage pump station at Buxton a ‘failure’- Engineer

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Engineer, Charles Ceres, on Monday told a gathering, among other things, that the recently constructed $240 million pump station at Buxton on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) is an engineering failure since to much money was spent to build it.

The new $240 million pump station at Buxton

Earlier this month, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder commissioned the drainage pump station aimed at alleviating flooding in Buxton and surrounding areas. The pump station is equipped with a 70.6 cu/sec pump, which has the capacity to discharge water at a rate of 31,700 gallons per minute.

Ceres who is a Civil, Geotechnical and Groundwater Hydrology Engineer and founded Ground Structures Engineering Consultants Inc. made the statement when he addressed the opening of the University of Guyana’s School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation inaugural Entrepreneurship and Innovation Conference at the Ramada Princess Hotel.

Delivering an address on the absence of incorporating economic considerations into engineering projects in Guyana, Ceres said that engineering failure is the “failure to optimize the use of money, failure to recognize opportunities and failure to provide values to the end user.”

To that end he explained that majority of the projects in Guyana are plagued by engineering failures that are both detrimental to the public and to the drive to ensure that, Guyanese people have a living wage.

Turning his attention to the Buxton Pump Station, Ceres said the construction included the removal of soil to a depth of approximately 20 feet, followed by the construction of a hollowed concrete structure built on piled foundation.

Engineer, Charles Ceres

He continued “piles are used to transfer loads when the loads cannot be taken by the soil, the soil removed weighed more than the pump station. It begs the question, why were piles used? The answer is that Engineers at the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Drainage and Irrigation Board were unaware of this ever having been done before. These individuals were informed that several such structures were built by Booker Tate as part of GuySuCo’s infrastructure. Our Engineers at the Ministry and Agriculture and the National Drainage and Irrigation Board were more focused on precedent. Precedent is sometimes applicable in law, not engineering. The pump station construction is a failure, it did not optimize the benefits to the end user since too much money was spent to build it.”

Following intense flooding, government secured a $1.4 billion line of credit from the World Bank for the construction of three pump stations located at Lusignan, Friendship/Vigilance and Enmore.

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