High costs to remedy problems at Clifton
More than $1.3 million was spent by the former administration on the Clifton Remediation Project with nearly $1.7 million now needed to correct the problem(s) at the Pier.
“Under the previous administration, and as of March 17, 2017, the government spent $1,302, 247.44 on the Clifton Remediation Project,” said Hon. Romauld Ferreira, Minister of the Environment and Housing. “The contracts with CH2M Hill will cost an additional $1,490,311.00 when completed and this does not include the additional $125,000 the company is asking for in its proposed management proposal and the $65,000 for its participation in constructing a wall.”
Minister Ferreira was giving his contribution to the 2017/18 Budget Debate at the House of Assembly. He said that Bahamas Power and Light (formerly BEC) will be requested to share the cost of the remediation.
Minister Ferreira said CH2M Hill was engaged in a contract with the previous administration and a preliminary report was issued in June 2016.
“The report identified BEC as the only source for oil leaking into the marine environment,” he said.
For several years citizens and visitors to the marine environment at Clifton Pier and the underwater sculpture gardens at Albany, lodged complaints to the government regarding the presence of oil in the immediate surroundings. Then near the end of 2013 there were accounts of large amounts of oil in the marine environment which led to the ministry engaging G&N to install containment booms along the cliffs at Clifton.
The Environment Minister said correcting the problem by installation of the booms was only partially successful due to inclement weather and inexperience.
He said discussions then ensued between the previous administration and Caribbean Systems International to stop the seepage of oil. CSI proposed excavating five feet below the water table to construct a wall to the surface of the land area.
Minister Ferreira said the proposal was not accepted because the area has subterranean caves which would prevent the construction of the wall. As a result, he said stakeholders in the area including various oil company executives and BEC executives met to discuss short and long-term solutions. A short term measure was to purchase additional booms which were later installed by BEC personnel.
He explained that Morgan Oil Marine, a company in Grand Bahama submitted a proposal to remove the oil from the subsurface and barge it. He said permission to relocate the barge was not granted due to age of barge and it having a single hull.
As it stands, Minister Ferreira said CH2M Hill was re-engaged by the previous administration and submitted a management proposal for four contracts to conduct additional investigative work to the tune of an estimated $125,000.
He said the bridge contracts were signed for the following:
- Marine Tier 1 Ecological evaluation assessment
- Off-site sampling and product finger printing assessment
- Remediation system design proposal
- Site characterisation proposal
Minister Ferreira said a preliminary report on the off-site sampling was received by the Ministry of the Environment and Housing on April 25. He also noted that a fourth proposal from CH2M Hill for the construction of a wall on the seaside cliff and a conceptual design for non-aqueous phase management behind the new pier structure was submitted. He said that both submissions were forwarded to the Ministry of Works and Urban Development as a new wall and pier will change the dynamics of the work.
He added that once analytical work is finished the company will be able to determine the source(s) and “I shall give a report to the Bahamian people as soon as the report has been submitted to the government.”