Residents should have been informed about water tunnel boring, Ombudsman says

Environment commissioner finds no rule breaches in boring of water tunnel between Pembroke and Ta’ Qali, but says residents should have been informed of night works

It should have been the entities concerned which should have informed residents about the water tunnel being bored, the Ombudsman has found
It should have been the entities concerned which should have informed residents about the water tunnel being bored, the Ombudsman has found

Residents in the Swieqi and Ibraġ areas should have been informed that works to bore a tunnel between Pembroke and Ta’ Qali would be taking place at the night, the Ombudsman’s office has found.

The Ombudsman’s comments come following a complaint filed by independent MEP candidate Arnold Cassola concerning the noise disturbances residents in the area were being subjected to due to the round-the-clock boring of a tunnel connecting the reverse osmosis plant in Pembroke with Ta’ Qali reservoirs.

Alan Saliba, the environment and planning commissioner within the Ombudsman’s office, said that no breaches of the rules had been found when it came to the boring works.

Saliba said that, following investigations it had carried out in reaction to the complaint, his office had found that while the Project Description Statement for the works did not allow night-time digging, its Construction Management Plan had given the go ahead for such work to take place at night.

Planning rules dictated that it was the construction plan which prevailed over other stipulations, Saliba noted.

“This office is not informed that any concerned entity found any rule breaches in terms of the complaint,” Saliba said.

Only around 30 metres remained to be bored, he said, which meant the works would be over in a few days.

Saliba added, however, that it should have been the entities responsible for the project - including the Water Services Corporation - which should have informed residents that boring works at night would be taking place in their vicinity.

The boring works will be creating a 9.5km tunnel linking Pembroke reverse osmosis to reservoirs in Ta’ Qali, with the project aiming to improve Malta’s water supply, environmental sustainability and operational efficiency.

Read also: New Pembroke-Ta’ Qali tunnel promises high quality water supply across Malta

More in National