The closure of the washrooms at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri, Friday evening for several hours, was a planned affair.
According to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI), in a statement, the washrooms were under “procedural sanitation” for the domestic cold water pipelines system.
“Due to this, the washrooms in the terminal building were closed for approximated six hours,” the Ministry explained.
On Friday evening, passengers and staffers alike complained about the inconvenience which they blamed on the toilets’ clogged lines.
The situation had raised eyebrows as one of the major reasons advanced for the building of new terminal building back in 2009 was the old sewage lines, which were unable to handle the volume of traffic at the airport.
The Bharrat Jagdeo government had gone ahead and signed that US$150M deal with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which started works in 2013 that should have ended in late 2015. The deadline has passed time and again and instead of a new terminal building, a renovated one is to be handed to the people of Guyana.With regards to the “sanitisation”, the Ministry said that following specification/contract requirements, under the supervision of the airport project consultants-MMM/CEMCO Inc.- and in conjunction with Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), China Harbour Engineering (CHEC) undertook the sanitation/disinfection of the domestic cold water (DWC) piping system installed in the terminal building.
“This process commenced weeks ago with the submission of the proposed methodology by the contractor to the consultants and GWI. The methodology was reviewed and accepted. Following the requirements set forth under ANSI/AWWA C651-14, the airport corporation made available a window period of six (6) hours (from 16:00 to 22:00) on Friday, November 22, 2019 to carry out the process.”
The Ministry said that prior to this, two trial procedures were undertaken on Saturday, November 9 and Thursday, November 21 respectively, in order to go through the various testing steps, as well as to identify any shortfalls and to plan for unforeseen circumstances that may hinder the proper execution of the disinfection process.
“In order to warrant the non-stop airport operation, during this low use window period, temporary washroom facilities were made available for the travelling public especially persons with disabilities in both the arrivals and departures terminal buildings.
“Temporary signage was also installed at all public areas for guidance whilst personnel were deployed at strategic locations to guide persons and ensured a smooth process.”
The Ministry said that it is noted that all newly constructed or repaired water systems, finished water storage facilities or wells serving a public water system must be disinfected/sanitised after the construction process by methods accepted to the Guyana Water Authority and in accordance with international standards.
“As the local governing body, GWI were engaged from the start and played an integral part in the review of the proposed disinfection methodology submitted by CHEC. They also played an important role in monitoring the quality of the water before, during and after the disinfection process which was successfully completed on the aforementioned dates.”