Project announced to extend potable water production plant

Project announced to extend  potable water production plant

From left: EEASM Director General Sebastien Gallego, SAUR Antilles Director Nicolas Touzet, President Louis Mussington, EEASM President Raphaël Sanchez, and SAUR St. Martin Director Mélissa Nicolas at the press conference. (Robert Luckock photo)


MARIGOT--Water Authority Établissement des Eaux et de l’Assainissement de Saint-Martin (EEASM) held a press conference at its headquarters in Hope Estate on Friday to announce an extension to the present drinking water production plant in Galisbay that will be built and commissioned in 2027 to significantly improve capacity.

With a provisional budget of 21 million euros, the aim is to increase daily production from 8,000m3 to around 14,000m3, explained Collectivité president Louis Mussington in his preamble. “We are going to do everything we can to reduce disruption and improve the situation,” he said.

It was noted that the production plant is very fragile and susceptible to breakdowns, resulting in inconvenience to consumers when water cuts are implemented by district while repairs are made. Storms in October created havoc at the plant, exacerbated by the power cut suffered by Electricté de France (EDF) which subsequently forced the water plant to shut down temporarily.

“The first stage of the project will be to keep the Galibsay plant running until the extension is built,” explained EEASM Director General Sébastien Gallego. "We have frequent problems and the risk is major.” Local director of SAUR Mélissa Nicolas said there are no breakdowns at the plant for now.

A recurring problem is the breaking of pipes underground because the majority of the pipe network is at least 30 years old or more. There is a long-term investment plan to replace much of the underground network, but it depends on securing the funding to do it.

“While we are looking at building a new plant, in parallel to that we are paying attention to replacing most of the old underground pipes,” Mussington confirmed. “It doesn’t make sense to do one and not the other. This is an urgent issue to secure water production on a reliable and permanent basis for our people.”

According to the provisional schedule, the project management assistance contract is due to be awarded in April 2024, with a view to starting work at the end of 2025 and commissioning during 2027.

“We are asking the public to be patient during this transitional period,” EEASM President Raphaël Sanchez requested. Mussington added he was organising a trip to Paris to seek financial support from the French government and to meet with the Minister for Ecological Transition and representatives of the French Development Agency ADF for assistance.

Sanchez pointed out that several investments were made in 2023, supported by the Collectivité, the State and European funds: 2.4 million euros to make the plant safe, 1.2 million euros to purchase the mobile treatment unit, 80,000 euros worth of work on the tanks and acquisition of new high-pressure pumps for 800,000 euros which are due to be delivered in the coming weeks.

In addition, the interconnection with the Dutch side was agreed at the end of 2023 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding. The connection work is in progress.

“We are waiting for the results of the analyses before we can open the taps,” Sanchez explained. “Once this stage has been validated, EEASM will be able to call on the Dutch side in the event of a crisis in the north of the island. The Dutch side could supply us with up to 2,500m3 per day. The main idea would be to connect the network at Oyster Pond to supply residents as far as Quartier d’Orléans. Being at the end of the network, they are generally the most affected by water cuts.”

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