After years of raw sewage outfall at Tobacco Bay in St George’s, the source of the environmental problem will be shut down this year.

The move comes as part of the ongoing $30 million East End Water and Wastewater Infrastructure initiative.

Speaking in the House of Assembly on Friday, Public Works Minister Lt Col David Burch told MPs: “The project will enable a major environmental benefit for Bermuda.

“For the first time St George’s, inclusive of their hotels, will see all sewage redirected to Southside where it will be treated via a new wastewater treatment facility and no longer will there be a need to pump it overboard,” he added.

“This year we will be able to close the Tobacco Bay sewage outfall. This is a huge accomplishment that will contribute significantly to enhancing our marine environment.

“We have completed all main line trenching totalling approximately 17 miles of pipe. Note that each trench has three or four pipes.

“The only remaining works are the final connections to the new pump and lift stations.

“All remaining connections are being completed as the lift or pump stations are commissioned.”

Local residents and East End residents in particular, would recall the challenges presented by the raw sewage outfall in the Tobacco Bay area over the years,

“Raw wastewater is pumped to the reef area northwest of St George’s Island and beach closures continue to occur,” said Col Burch, who noted that $27 million of the project’s budget had been spent so far.

“This $30 million initiative is designed to enhance the lives of our citizens by rejuvenating old and creating new water systems that would properly treat sewage waste and provide potable – drinking – water to the parish of St George’s,” he added.

“Only a limited number of customers receive the services via public infrastructure.

“The remaining are self-served through their own private systems.”

He also noted that the project was expected to be completed by March of this year, which is now expected “before the end of the summer”.

“The primary reason for the delay is, yet again, the ongoing supply-chain and delivery issues for specialised equipment,” he said.

“Additionally, the other contributing factor was that this year has been very wet, especially over the last few months which made it difficult for contractors to complete equipment installations per the initial schedule.

“The work being done in the parish of St George’s will provide a much more reliable and quality of water to the people and businesses of the parish.

“It will also serve as a template for work that needs to be done in this area in other parts of the island.

“That infrastructure is also in need of repair and replacement.

“The lessons learnt through this exercise will provide a clear guide to improving the process as we move forward.”