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Chief Executive Officer of National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Frederick Flatts says recent criticisms attributed to Charles Ceres of Ground Structures Engineering Incorporated are a case of sour grapes.

Southern view of the pump station

Southern view of the pump station

Ceres, a local engineer was recently quoted by a local newspaper publication as declaring a drainage pump constructed at Friendship – Vigilance on the East Coast of Demerara, a failure because piles were used in its foundation.

According to Flatts, Ground Structures Engineering Incorporated owned by Ceres was hired to provide geotechnical data for the construction of the pump station. His recommendations were contrary to those of British designers Mott McDonald who recommended timber piles be used to prevent uneven settlement.

“That pump station was designed by Mott MacDonald, an English consultancy firm. They proposed using timber piles in the foundation. However, they were not able to recommend the length of piles because we did not have geotechnical data. As a consequence, we hired a consultant Ground Structures Engineering Consultants, to do a geotechnical survey. We did get a response from that consultancy with the geotechnical data. It was also recommended by that consultancy that piles were unnecessary, and reasons were given,” Flatts explained.

Frederick Flatts, CEO, NDI

Chief Executive Officer of NDIA, Frederick Flatts

Further, the CEO said that the use of piles was in keeping with age-old practices which has proven effective. The additional cost he said was minimal considering the stability it will provide and the type of pumps being used.

“The type of pump we are using is the vertical axial flow pump and it is very critical for those shafts to be very vertical and any slight departure from the verticality would cause problems. So, to ensure that the structure would not settle, we used 25 piles. The total cost was $4.95M the overall cost of the project was $239.9M. The cost of the pile was just 2 percent of the overall cost. Personally, I would say that the project is not a failure because we spent five million more than somebody thinks. $5M in $240M is not much.”

“I am disappointed that a consultant will use the information he gained from working with us to go public and make a criticism, perhaps, because his advice was not taken,” Flatts said.

NDIA, CEO assured that the piles used will guarantee the structure’s stability. Citing the example of the Charity Wharf, he said the new station will aid in the drainage of Vigilance and Friendship areas on the East Coast.

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