Construction project of a US$18 million raw water pipeline for the Liberia Water and Sewer (LWSC) is expected to be completed in September of this year, MCC Account-Liberia has announced.
According to the MCC, more than 50% of the project has been completed, and remaining work is scheduled to finish in September 2020. The Sewer project will draw water from Mt. Coffee dam Hydropower Plant to the White Plains Water Treatment Plant. When completed, the project will save LWSC approximately US$780,000 a year in electricity costs, as the technology will now transport water using gravity instead of pumping water into the treatment plant from the St. Paul River.
The MCA-Liberia project replaces the original 36-inch diameter pipeline that got destroyed during Liberia’s civil war with a new 48-inch diameter pipeline. Project Engineer, Jurgen De Moor of Belgium-based contractor Denys said all 820 pipes have now arrived on site from the manufacturer in India.
He said, the contractor, Denys has also cleared 98 percent of the route along the pipeline and the pipes have been strung along, awaiting the process of trenching, pipe laying, and backfilling, which he noted have already begun in some areas.
De Moor noted that two types of pipes are being used—one that will be exposed and others that will be buried. “The exposed pipes are made of steel and have epoxy coating on the outside and inside, while the buried pipes are made of ductile iron and contain cement lining inside and bituminous coating outside,” he said.
According to him, the coatings will help protect bacteria from penetrating the pipes and contaminating the water while also preventing corrosion of the pipes, adding, the 5km long pipeline project has already employed 114 persons, with 79 of the workers from the surrounding communities of White Plains and Harrisburg.
The Denys Water Engineer disclosed that compensation of those affected by the project is nearing completion, with 54 of the 55 persons whose properties fall in the pipeline’s right of way receiving just compensation. Additionally, he said a financial management training for individuals receiving compensation is ongoing and expected to end this month.
As part of the MCA-Liberia mandate for gender and social inclusion, 21 percent of the workers hired by Denys are women-a much higher percentage than the industry standard of under 10 percent. One of the women on the project is a Quality Assurance Officer. Barbara A. Debah, a graduate of the Stella Maris Polytechnic University in civil engineering degree said her tasks is to make sure that the pipes are in good condition, specifically the lining and coating.
Debah said in order for the pipes to have a long lifespan, they should be free of cracks and rust before they are placed in the ground. When completed, the pipeline is not only expected to save LWSC money; it will also improve the reliability and quality of water supply to Monrovia.
The current location of LWSC’s intake pipe results in poor water quality and salty water during the dry season when the St. Paul River level is low, as water from the Atlantic Ocean washes back into the river. Instead of retrieving water from downstream and closer to the ocean, the pipeline will draw water from the reservoir upstream.
Funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation for the Government of Liberia, the raw water pipeline is part of the Energy project under the compact, which is committed to reducing poverty in Liberia by promoting economic growth and inclusion.