Safe zone established, power restored to Diamond

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… GGMC, GWI to manage containment of natural eruption

The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) in collaboration with the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MOPI) are expected to undertake works in the coming days to recap the well, which was dug at Fifth and Sixth Avenue, Diamond, East Bank Demerara, by a resident resulting in an eruption of mud, water and methane gas.

Thus far, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a safe zone in the area and power has since been restored by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL).

According to a Ministry of the Presidency release, Director of the EPA, Kemraj Parsram, said that based on tests conducted on Friday in the area, it was discovered that the gas detection has been constrained within the property and as such, a safe zone has been established. Based on this finding, GPL was asked to restore lights to residents after a request was previously made for electricity to be cut for fear of explosion and fires in the affected areas.

Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), which is coordinating the response efforts, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, in an invited comment, said that once the area becomes safe for works to commence, GGMC and GWI will move in to begin the actual capping.  Further to this, he noted that some work will have to be undertaken to determine whether the residents can remain there or if they will have to be moved permanently. At this time, however, he said that there is no need for evacuation.

Mitchell Prince, Senior Petroleum Analyst at the GGMC, said that the plan is to run two sizes of casings into the ground where the well was dug. “It is the reverse of drilling a well.  The hole is already there, it is now to put the casings in and seal it off. We are going to use 18 inch casings on the outside and 14 inches diameter casings on the inside. That would be sealed around with concrete and there will be a valve. During the process of construction, the valve will be left opened so as to vent and release the pressures. When you are finish, sealing up then you can close the valve. This can be done in about three weeks,” he said.

Colonel Craig noted that the owner of the property had no permit from the Hydrometeorological office to conduct such drillings. He noted that it is important that citizens take this as a lesson and understand that it is important that due process be followed.

“If you are drilling wells you must receive permits from Hydromet because you can have situations like this that threaten your life, your neighbours’ lives and other people around you. You have to be careful and follow the rules. If you don’t you are going to put people’s lives at jeopardy,” he noted.

At approximately 18:15hrs on Thursday evening, the CDC received information that there was an eruption between Fifth and Sixth Avenue, Diamond. According to that information, a resident who usually sells water was drilling a well without permission when the eruptions, which reached about 40 feet in height, started.

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