1. The pre-primary stage involves what is called coarse screening where screens split solid waste from waste water and directs it to an area where it is dried and then deposited in a container for disposal at the Tynes Bay Waste Facility.
  2. The primary stage involves sludge removal through special filters.
  3. In the secondary stage the waste water is then put through a treatment whereby the biological content is degraded through natural means.
  4. The third and final stage before the waste water is sent into the Seabright outflow is a micro-filtering process.

This map shows the location of the Seabright sewage outfall pipe and nearby beaches along South Shore.

The final product is several hundred times cleaner than what pours into the facility (measuring levels of biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids). The treated water will represent approximately 17% of the Seabright outflow.

This comes as positive news when coupled with the recent 'clean bill of health' delivered with respect to our surrounding waters, news that was delivered from representatives of the Caribbean Public Health Agency. This body reported that our waters generally meet the US EPA requirements for safe use.

Despite these developments, Greenrock would suggest that this is an opportune time to address Bermuda's sewage outflow more fully.

Hamilton sees much more sewage than most would expect. It is not just the businesses and offices that contribute to sewage flowing to our South Shore from Hamilton. Residential sewage, once collected from a septic tank is deposited at the Tynes Bay septage facility which is ultimately pumped to Hamilton, and sent, once slightly treated, out to sea. In reality, approximately 90% of Bermuda's sewage flows through the Seabright outflow via Hamilton.

Seabright outflowA sewage plume at the Seabright pipeline outfall on South Shore..
Approximately 90% of Bermuda's sewage flows through the Seabright outflow via Hamilton

The existing treatment facility in Hamilton treats waste water using only the first stage outlined above.

Thankfully, the Corporation of Hamilton, the body responsible for managing the sewage outflow, is looking into further treatment options. These include but are not limited to:

  • Enhancing the current Front Street sewage treatment plant to include more thorough treatment of waste water potentially using a fine screen filtration system; and
  • Developing additional sewage treatment facilities for Hamilton at a location to be determined.

In addition to these initiatives, the Corporation of Hamilton recently enacted its 'FOG' (fats, oils and grease) policy which mandate that Hamilton restaurants and businesses trap and dispose of kitchen sink grease rather than let it flow into Hamilton's sewage system. The expectation is that by March of 2015, a majority of the grease generated in our largest city is captured and disposed of rather than sent out to sea.

Greenrock wholeheartedly supports these and similar initiatives that improve Bermuda's treatment of sewage, and thereby improve the health of our surrounding waters, reefs and the sea life.

This article appears in our regular 'Greenrock Says...'  column in the Royal Gazette Green Pages, published on the first Thursday of each month.

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