Following the October 18th press conference regarding RWZI

It was a bit of a horse and pony show under the direction of minister Ursell Arends, and I don’t want to be disrespectful towards the well-meaning minister and his two well-informed, well-spoken officials, Frank Benita, DOW, and Dary Lue, Bubali RWZI.

I appreciated their educational effort. But I was not reassured at the end, that the crisis begun in 2018 is over.

On the contrary, I now understand the disaster much better. Thank you.

The minister set out to conduct an informative session outlining the history of gray water treatment in Aruba, or rather the over-burdened, under-treated and neglected three-RWZI-plant system, responsible for rain water and gray water handling.

I learned a few new things.

  1. By November 2021, if all goes well, the maintenance work around the Bubali plant will be complete and the island will be OUT of the imminent environmental threat, of having 8M liter of untreated waste water spill over tourist areas. So keep fingers crossed until then. They received 85% of the money budgeted so far, total budget Awg 3.8M, and I hope the rest of the sum will be made available.
  2. By next year we are expecting considerable growth, 2,000 hotel and condo rooms coming on line, we MUST provide solutions for their gray water.
  3. The sludge presently choking the aeration pools at Bubali will be transported to Parkietenbos to be incinerated in the new incinerator that was bought with the money previously earmarked for maintenance of the RWZI plants.
  4. Between 2021 and 2026, the good folks at RWZI are planning to clean the system chemically, perform maintenance work, but they cannot guarantee that the smell will disappear. It will be perhaps reduced, but nevertheless ever-present, because the old equipment, 50 years, doesn’t aerate gray water sufficiently.
  5. Somewhere between 2026 and 2036 we must come up with the cash to build a NEW RWZI with the capacity of 15,000m2, a day, that’s 15M liter.

Same sad story, no maintenance. The maintenance budget is diverted and used for other purposes. Maintenance isn’t sexy. The good RWZI folks dream about new pumps and a warning or alarm system, great lab facilities to test the quality of the water, floaters, sensors, they know what they need, but they are not supported by GOA, who as you know is busy protecting the status quo.

Marjory Vermeer called around this week, outraged that the Bubali sludge will end up in her neighborhood at Parkietenbos.

I told her she was right.

Aruba has to privatize this thing. Everything GOA manages is subpar.

Let the private sector deal with this, and produce water for irrigation, sell it too, see if we can monetize the process in the private sector, it is a verguenza total.

RWZI needs an urgent solution – Aruba Today

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October 27, 2021
Rona Coster