Over 20,000 East Bank customers to get improved water service

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GWI’s Head of Technical Services, Mr. Lensworth Blair explaining plans for the Covent Garden plant to Minister Collin Croal

An estimated 22,000 customers residing along the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) will be able to boast of an improved level of service and quality of water by the end of 2021.

This assurance was given by Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal who visited a number of areas along the East Bank of Demerara on Friday, March 12 to assess their water service.

He was accompanied by Chief Executive Officer of Guyana Water Incorporated, Mr. Shaik Baksh and a number of technical officials from the utility.

During the visit, Minister Croal explained that GWI is working to rehabilitate some of the water supply systems that were neglected over the years and have started to deteriorate. This he said would address water quality concerns.

The team visited the Grove and Covent Water Treatment Plants, the proposed sites for the drilling of new wells in Prospect and Providence and interacted with residents of Kaneville and Grove.

The community members related that they have already seen some improvements in their level of service but raised concerns relating to the high iron content in the water.

One Kaneville resident by the name of Troy Sergeant related that he was happy to see the officials in the area, noting that such visits are welcomed by residents. He added that he has seen an improvement in the water pressure but asked that iron in it be addressed.

During their tour of the Grove and Covent Garden WTPs, Mr. Baksh explained that the aeration/filtration system, which forms part of the water treatment process, is no longer effective since it has deteriorated over the years, resulting in the high iron content in the water.

As such, the filters at the facility are being modified to facilitate the introduction of a higher concentration of Manganese Dioxide filter media. Manganese Dioxide is a naturally occurring ore which performs the dual function of oxidizing iron and filtering it out of the water.

Previously, Manganese Coated (a lesser concentration) was used but this required periodic regeneration (chemical treatment), which did not prove sustainable to upkeep. With this innovation in water quality at GWI, customers will benefit from clearer and cleaner water through their taps.

GWI is in the process of procuring the Manganese Dioxide at a tune of GYD$25 million per plant (a total of GYD$50M), which is being funded through Government of Guyana’s budgetary allocation. Following its procurement, it will be set up by GWI’s in-house staff. This is expected to sustain the treatment system for a period of 10 years.

Mr. Baksh anticipates that customers will be able to benefit from this project within the next two to three months.

Just recently, the said treatment process was implemented in Eccles.

The GWI CEO noted that the utility is in support of the Ministry’s ongoing housing drive and will work to ensure the requisite infrastructure is in place to adequately supply new and existing housing schemes.