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This is a short summary of the "Water Works" project which has now commenced in downtown Boquete.

January 2015

Government seeking Proposals for New Water & Sewage Systems for Boquete

The National Council for Sustainable Development ( CONADES) issued an invitation to tender for the design and construction of aqueducts, treatment plants, and wastewater handling in Boquete, Chiriqui.

In accordance with the statement of objectives published in PanamaCompra, it is a tender to which has been placed a reference price of $25 million.

Those who are interested in participating in this tender should submit their proposals the next February 10, so they will have 32 days to prepare documents.

"The drinking water supply system of the district of Boquete is carried out through three rural aqueducts, which are: Los Ladrillos, Valle Escondido, and Alto Quiel.

This system covers the districts of Los Naranjos, Alto Boquete and Bajo Boquete. The rest of the water supply systems in this territory are administered by JAAR's.  There are six in Jaramillo, two in Los Naranjos, two in Palmira and one in Caldera", explains the document.

"It is of particular concern that currently there is not a crude water treatment system by which cannot be predicted or control the factors with the potential for contamination, which may cause health problems in the population. The distribution is made by gravity through tubing ,in the majority PVC, with a regular chlorination. There are also lines of asbestos cement, a material that is now banned for domestic use. In some areas of Boquete there are irregularities in the supply, a situation that is mainly due to the fact that there is no systematized and structured distribution system, lack of control and maintenance on the network. In view of this it is necessary to evaluate the driving lines by the low efficiency and effectiveness that are distributed," adds the statement of objectives.

This evening it is expected that the president of the Republic himself, Juan Carlos Varela, during a visit to the Feria de Flores in Boquete, will announce the news to the inhabitants of this community.

The work shall be ready in 730 days (two years) once the work formally begins.

Below is a table with the scope of the project, according to the statement of objections published.

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June 2015

The project was awarded to Constructora Urbana s.a. or CUSA and surveying began.

September 2015

SANTA LUCIA APPENDED TO THE MODERN AQUEDUCT THAT IS TO BE BUILT IN Boquete

Last Saturday after an important meeting held with the residents of the Santa Lucia Neighborhood, Ing. Carlos Santamaria CONADES, Elisha Miranda (Aproccosa) and Ing. Municipal Ernist Gonzalez carried out an important inspection to the actual sources for the current Irrigation aqueduct in El Salto.

The tour was carried out in sectors of El Salto and Volcancito in order to have a better reference of the project that will be appended to the Municipal of the aqueduct of Boquete in which they are looking for the best options to resolve the lack of water in the neighborhood.

In the opinion of the Ing. Manuel Soreano, who has already endorsed project and has asked for a period of 60 days to conduct a design study that will then be discussed with the inhabitants of the Santa Lucia neighborhood.

Volcancito and El Salto distribution were always part of the project and the area of Santa Lucia was appended.

 

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December 2015

The main contractor CUSA set up headquarters near the entrance to Valle Escondido.

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June 2016

Saw-cutting and asphalt degradation for trenching begins.

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Edited by Keith Woolford

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While running errands today in Bajo Boquete, I stopped by one of the construction areas where the underground water and sewer pipes are to be installed. It is my understanding in talking with friends that the trenches will be about 2 meters deep, with the sewer pipe being the lower of the two systems, and then one meter higher up from the sewer pipe will be the potable water pipe. Here is the picture I took at the corner where the two sastrerias (tailor shops) are located, just south of the main church.

Trench photo.JPGWe all will benefit when this work is completed, but in the meantime, grin and bare it would probably be a good motto.

I was glad to see the warning tape around the work area. Serious damage could result if someone were to fall into that ~7 foot deep trench.

BTW, the workers got a big kick out of watching some gringo taking their picture. Glad I made their day. :)

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Are you sure they were not grinning because you "bared it"?

Sorry, could not resist. Love ya!

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9 minutes ago, Erin Ross said:

Are you sure they were not grinning because you "bared it"?

Sorry, could not resist. Love ya!

Caught me, Erin. I was typing on my Apple device, and it tries to be smart. I did not catch the spelling change.

I will just leave it as is. Adds a bit of levity to my day.

Thanks for calling me on this.

P.S., NO!!! I did not bare anything. Had I done that, they would have been giggling or snickering, not laughing.

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Yesterday afternoon (Friday, July 8th), we were running errands in town again. Here is another shot of the same street (slightly different angle because of the signs blocking the view). They pretty much had that section completed.

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Here is the same scene a couple of days later.showing the trench fully closed up. Last picture that I will show of this site.

Looks like a real mess to me. Glad I do not live on that street.

2016-07-12 13.51.48-1.jpg

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Not sure but I'm thinking that they started the pipelaying here because this is the lower end of Calle Central, and it will provide their elevation reference or 'ground zero' for the entire project.

Once the fresh and waste water plants are built, and the trunk lines are installed down the centre of the streets, we can look forward to the even messier task of making tie-ins to each individual property.

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And then yesterday, July 13th, Marcelyn and I had to go to Dra. Chely's vet office for a debrief on the blood lab work for Anouk. It was a long walk from where we could safely park to get to Dra Chely's home/office, and an opportunity to get up close with the workers as they were "closing in" on the sewer pipe installation. A few shots here. BTW, the gray stuff directly below the bend in the pipe is freshly poured concrete.

I preface this paragraph with a disclaimer: I am NOT an engineer, I have zero experience with these kinds of projects, and I don't want to sound critical, BUT: the pipe, which I presume to be the sewer (waste) effluent pipe looks to be terribly small to me.

From Keith's reply just above mine, it appears he knows quite a bit about these kinds of projects. Maybe Keith could comment on my observation about the pipe size.

And finally for the curious, I do not seek out these projects. They (the workers and the trenches and the messes) are just everywhere. I can't avoid them. So I just document them as the mood strikes me.

 

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Good feedback, Keith. I had not thought about it, but your comment makes sense to me, i.e., main distribution trunks and then tributary feeds. Clearly the street that Dra Chely lives on would not be a main distribution trunk, but there have to be at least several dozen homes to be serviced there. When I think about showers, and toilets, and clothes washers going, even at a 20% to 30% duty cycle, that pipe won't be sufficient.

I have to add that these workers are working very hard. Difficult situations, bad weather at times, and little appreciation. At least these pictures are a bit of recognition on our part.

We hope the end result justifies all of this energy.

  • Upvote 1

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Some members of the community appeared today at the Boquete council meeting to complain about the design of the work.

Residents of Boquete request Suspension of Sewage System

Así van los trabajos en Boquete.

Calling the construction of the system of municipal water and sewerage network in Boquete, Chiriqui, unsuitable for the near 20 thousand inhabitants of this tourist region, (some of it's) inhabitants are calling for a temporary suspension of the project until more details are known.

The Environmentalist Carmencita Tedman said that they request a suspension of the work because they have knowledge that two large water tanks that will be chlorinated are to be installed inside the river Caldera, so they feared that during a possible flood could they be destroyed.

She added that the lines used for the sewerage system are six inches. In her view, they should be 24 inches because "they must think ahead several years."

"We ask Conades to suspend and explain what they are going to do because the president Juan Carlos Varela speaks of a water treatment plant for Boquete, not some water tanks", added the spokesperson of (some) of the residents.

Elisha Miranda, representative of the company in charge of the construction of the work, said that in design is only 98% complete because they are still held back by the acquisition of land for the second water treatment plant in Alto Boquete.

He explained that the project consists of a sanitary waste system, a sewage network and a wastewater treatment plant; improvements in deposits of two existing fresh water sources in Los Ladrillos, Finca Los Mercedes and Valle Escondido, and two water purification plants or potabilizacion systems.

"We are trying to explain in order for people to understand that the design of a plant is a function of the water which is going to be treated and as Boquete has good water it does not require a sedimenter because there is no murky water," said.

Last January the President Juan Carlos Varela gave the order to proceed to the Asociación Accidental Aguas de Boquete company for the "study, design, construction, maintenance and operation of the system of municipal water and sewerage network in the district of Boquete, work that amounts to $22.5 million.

http://www.prensa.com/provincias/Residentes-Boquete-suspender-colocacion-alcantarillado_0_4537796215.html

Edited by Keith Woolford

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The Mayor's staff posted this report of the meeting on their Facebook page.

freetranslation.com

EVERYONE WANTS THE WATER PROJECT IN BOQUETE TO BENEFIT BOQUETEÑOS

From the ability to the handle the flow of wastewater, up to studies of the future population that has to use the future sewage system that APROCOSA is building in the district of Boquete for an amount of $22.5 million, were part of the topics that were discussed yesterday in the Municipal Council in the presence of municipal authorities in the district of Boquete.

A group of residents appeared in the morning hours of yesterday looking for explanations on the design and construction, as well as on the basis of which was being installed a 6 inch PVC tube in the new sanitary system in a district that is growing by leaps and bounds.

The honorable Marcial Suárez at this meeting took the concerns of those people in relation to sewage and the aqueduct and assured that things will be done well and if the community has reason then will be carried out in accordance with the request of the inhabitants.

For its part the mayor added that is healthy that the community has requested such explanations because this helps to prove the transparency with which the authorities work in respect to the project, and that it is not true that there is benefit to direct officials by the company as has been speculated by some.

Manuel Soriano, National Director of the National Council of Social Development (CONADES), stated that the district must be quiet because at the next meeting they be clarifying questions such as why? are you using this type and capacity of pipes? and coincided with the Governor of the province of the Lic. Hugo Mendez when the only thing you are looking for is to benefit the district of Boquete with a good draft of an aqueduct and sewage sysytem.

For its part the Governor of the province reiterated that "for administration of Juan Carlos Varela this project is important because it was the launching of the project of Basic Sanitation and that has as main objective to be able to deal with the problem which for many years had caused concern to the community as was the lack of an aqueduct and sewage system in Boquete and the Government shall ensure that they comply with what said the statement of charge for the benefit of the district boqueteño".

Public Relations Department

 

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6 inch waste pipe.   Don't toss your poop paper down the toilet and stop taking Metamucil .

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I am incredulous.  Doesn't anyone submit plans before getting a $25 million contract??  

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It's a design bid project, Doug. There are plans of course, but there are also plenty of people who operate by rumour and who mistrust any government initiative.

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45 minutes ago, Keith Woolford said:

It's a design bid project, Doug. There are plans of course, but there are also plenty of people who operate by rumour and who mistrust any government initiative.

Guilty, as charged.

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..and in typical fashion, sloppy work - see the bend below consists of straight segments welded together at an angle.  It may hold if it's a non pressurized sewage line, buy WHY WHY WHY not use the correct 22.5 or 45 degree bend?

Water Works Project Boquete District - Public Infrastructure (Roadways, Signag_2016-07-28_06-35-07.png

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There will be a public meeting at the Salon Arco Iris at the Feria on Tuesday August 2nd at 10:00 a.m. to further the discussions in favor of discontinuing the 'water works' project.

This meeting is scheduled for the same time and in the same general area as the BCP market.

Meetings such as this are usually organized by lay people who weren't paying attention during the design or tender process of a project, but who become engineers overnight after the work starts.

Edited by Keith Woolford

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23 hours ago, Brundageba said:

I smell problems a brew....

The consequences of problems in sewer lines are so much greater than a water line.....   If there are knowledgeable eyes that see obvious problems in advance then now might be the time to speak up.   The "I told you so" down the line when the sh*t hits the fan has less value.  I have no knowledge of the engineering of a proper sewer line.  I just hope that those that do, speak up (in a non-confrontational way) and help for the benefit of all.

 

Edited by Brundageba
afterthought
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On July 29, 2016 at 9:01 AM, Keith Woolford said:

There will be a public meeting at the Salon Arco Iris at the Feria on Tuesday August 2nd at 10:00 a.m. to further the discussions in favor of discontinuing the 'water works' project.

This meeting is scheduled for the same time and in the same general area as the BCP market.

Meetings such as this are usually organized by lay people who weren't paying attention during the design or tender process of a project, but who become engineers overnight after the work starts.

Did anyone attend this meeting and can provide information of the outcome or decisions reached?

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This is the Mayor's report of the meeting from his Facebook page.

Clearing our doubts; but we will be vigilant say BOQUETEÑOS

With the participation of a large number of members of the Community, an important meeting took place in the morning and part of the afternoon yesterday in the Rainbow Room at the Boquete Fairgrounds. In the same meeting, attendees were able to clear doubts of why tubing with diameters of 6 up to 10 inches are being used in the sanitary waste of the district.

Among other of the concerns expressed by the Community to the representatives of the company APROCOSA and CONADES was the construction of the holding tanks for sewage treatment, sewage that will be generated by the district after the construction of the sanitary network.

It also achieved in allaying publicly the fear and insecurity of the population due to the construction of the tubs of water reserve, that in the opinion of some inhabitants boqueteños, and according to background the Caldera River has left its traces over the last 40 years, and that has swept everything to your step at the time of the flooding in the quarry, Corregimiento de Los Naranjos.

"We want you to come to invest in our district and we are not against the authorities but we want things to be transparent and of benefit to all, we have confidence in the ability of the engineers who carried out this project but as public servants are in the responsibility to respond to the concerns of the community and we know that the community is grateful to the Government and the President Varela and we want to continue investing millions in our district", said Licenciada María de Los ángeles González.

Public Relations Department

 

 

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What I like about this is that I see the community very well interested in the project and participating actively with the authorities when a concern and doubts arise.  People have become the Project's inspector.   That is good.   It is the way to address any problem that could affect the good performance of the project in the future.  The contractor is aware that people are concerned and vigilant of the work they are doing.  All of you keep doing it.   I have seen in other parts of Panama that people do not participate in checking the projects and denouncing anything bad happening and then start complaining when the job is finished and very difficult to address the problem.  

Good Job!!

 

  • Upvote 5

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Great reply, Roger B.

With the greatest respect for all involved in this project, and especially including Mayor Emigdio Walker Vasquez, every time I re-read the mayor's feedback (see above post by Keith) from last Tuesday's public meeting, I get the feeling of a "whitewash". I remain skeptical.

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