Barbados Association of Professional Engineers Responds to Mia’s Membrane Bioreactor Recommendation to Solve South Coast Sewage Problem
The Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) has responded to the BU blogmaster questioning if that association should be the one to inform on the recent suggestion by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to use membrane bioreactor technology to solve the South Coast sewage problem.
– BU Blogmaster
Sir, you asked for BAPE’S comment on the matter raised about membrane bio reactor (MBR) technology as an option for use on the South Coast.
The Barbados Association of Professional Engineers is not a functional engineering consultancy. It is the national body that represents the interest of such consultant groups; of individual engineers; and of the engineering profession itself. It is therefore not within BAPE’S remit to engage in the technical specifics of any particular engineering solution – such as the use of membrane bio reactor technology or even options such as secondary or tertiary level sewerage treatment. There are multiple viable and valid options that are available for such solutions.
Our concern is that, in the national interest, these complex infrastructural decisions must not be taken in the heat of political rhetoric, but after careful, deliberate, methodological and professional consideration that is led by our best experts – who truly understand the ramifications of the decisions made.
The original final design choice was a poor compromise that was taken largely on short term political and economic considerations. The lack of an emergency back-up outfall, and the pairing of different pipe systems in a common duct clearly point to this fact.
Now that the inevitable crisis has come, millions of dollars are being assigned to deep injection wells, bypass systems and other expensive fixes, while the environment and economy suffers the bad decisions taken by non experts over 20 years ago.
Recent suggestions, that whole new philosophical approaches such as MBR technology should now be introduced is exactly the kind of thinking that gave us the flawed level one plant in the first place. Clearly these political decisions are well intentioned and genuinely conceived, however we continue to reiterate that the technological world of the 21st century is far too complex and sophisticated for such decisions to be made without full involvement of the experts and even the public, in the various pros and cons, and the justifications for the final choices made.
Unless we establish a new regime for decision-making with respect to national infrastructural projects such as the SCSP, our road and transport network, the water works system and other critical assets, we will only encounter even worse failures. It simply is not possible to successfully conceptualise and manage such complex, large-scale, projects in the absence of professional, dedicated, and transparent management – empowered with full control of the resources needed to follow prescribed construction standards and maintenance schedules.