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ALERT: 5:45 P.M. WAPA TO SUSPEND WATER SERVICE TO ST. THOMAS CUSTOMERS ON WEDNESDAY TO FACILITATE EAST END CUSTOMERS IN THURSDAY SCHEDULE

(Monday, December 26, 2011)

Monday, December 26, 2011

UPDATE Alert: 5 p..m.

WAPA WILL SUSPEND ST. THOMAS WATER SERVICE ON WEDNESDAY TO FACILITATE INCLUDING EAST END CUSTOMERS IN ROTATION ON THURSDAY

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority is implementing some major initiatives to increase water production in St. Thomas’ Harley power plant, and most importantly, to get water to those East End customers without service since last week.  WAPA’s Executive Director Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., said that to supply water to east end locations, the utility must increase storage and pressure which means suspending service on Wednesday to the town areas now receiving water in four hour intervals from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. “Water levels are still critically low, but we are working to serve all of our customers throughout the island,” said Hodge. “We will store as much water as possible beginning Tuesday night and will pump to all areas including the east end on Thursday on a schedule of two-hour intervals,” Hodge explained. Thursday’s water rotation schedule will be announced on Wednesday.

To meet the critical need for water on St. Thomas, WAPA leased six temporary reverse osmosis (RO) plants last month from Seven Seas Corporation. Three of the units which filter ocean water to make drinking water have been on line since last Friday. WAPA has been pumping or gravity feeding most of that water to customers in the lower lying areas on a daily basis. Arrangements have been made with Seven Seas to expedite the installation of the three additional RO plants originally scheduled for operation in mid-January. Seven Seas workers will bypass their holiday vacations to assist with the installations which should be completed in a week.  Hodge is also making arrangements with other possible sources to get an additional 500,000 gallons of daily water production to St. Thomas to help with meeting the daily demand.  

There have also been setbacks in the repairs to a boiler in the power plant that have challenged WAPA in restoring water service Hodge said. The feed water pump shaft needed to complete repairs to the waste heat recovery boiler has been difficult to locate and WAPA engineers searched over the weekend for the special metal materials needed to fabricate the part. Calls have been made to more than 25 suppliers across the country, said Hodge. The Christmas holidays extended the search time, but materials have been located and are expected to arrive before the end of the week. Once the additional RO plants are in place and the boiler can operate with the desalination plants to produce steam and make water, WAPA will be able to meet customer needs.

            Thursday’s water schedule will be published by late Wednesday afternoon on local radio stations, at www.viwapa.vi, and by VI alert.gov text and email messages. Customers may also call 340-774-3552 and press #6 for a recorded message. Customers are reminded that the scheduled times as published are always approximate as it will take time for water to reach the designated areas after water is diverted from one location to another in the rotation.

            WAPA has set the following schedule for Tuesday, December 27:

6– 10 a.m.

Altona, Anna’s Fancy, Savan, Veste Gade, Garden St., Bunker Hill, Main St.

 

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Hospital Ground, Ross Taananberg, Havensight, Upper Contant (Contant Knolls)

 

2 – 6 p.m.

Sugar Estate, Estate Thomas

 

6-10 p.m.

Sub-Base, Frenchtown, Contant, Lindberg Bay

 

            Hodge said WAPA remains committed to remedying the water shortage problem as soon as possible.

 

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