The passage of hurricane Irma was a terrible tragedy for our clients and colleagues in Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy.
Damages were outstanding, the hurricane having blown away houses and people having run out of water, power and food. Without any groundwater on both islands, SIDEM's desalination plants represent the only means of producing drinking water.
The RO part of the plant in Saint-Barthelemy was largely preserved and could therefore be re-started in less than a week. The thermal part of the same plant, coupled with an incinerator was restarted quickly, allowing full production of the whole plant in less than ten days.
Unfortunately, the RO plant in Saint-Martin was much more affected by the hurricane but the response from SIDEM's local team was tremendous. Despite their own personal hardship, they have mobilized tirelessly to ensure that the plant can be operational as fast as possible. Electronic parts have been dried or replaced, filters have been retrieved from under crumbled walls and piping has been redone. It took two weeks of hard work to restart the plant and only six weeks to get it fully operational.
In the meantime, drinking water production was complemented by an emergency Mobile Water Services unit which Veolia Water Technologies had sent from Spain. Two SIDEM employees joined the Veolia Water Force to start up the units.