Press Release Details

WAPA Continues To Meet Demand For Potable Water Service On St. Croix While Adding About 200,000 Gallons Per Day To System Storage

Apr 07, 2019
In the weeks following a series of water distribution challenges which affected the west end of St. Croix, the installation of five new pumps at three pumping stations has allowed the system to expand its storage capacity while meeting the public’s demand for water service. 

“Late this week, WAPA had overall storage capacity of about 37% and continued to meet demand,” said Executive Director Lawrence J. Kupfer. Not only have we rebuilt significant storage— 23 feet of water -- at the Kingshill tank, which is key to providing normal service to the west end of St. Croix, we have inventoried other storage tanks on the system, and there are no new challenges to impede normal service to WAPA’s customers. In fact, WAPA continues to satisfy the needs of its largest potable water customer on St. Croix, Diageo. “Overall, our current storage level stands at about 2-3 days and is building each day,” Kupfer added. The system has normalized, and that was evident on Thursday night during an electrical shutdown of the Concordia Pump Station. Water service was not affected as water was gravity fed by the tanks. The Concordia Pump Station was returned to service Friday morning.

“The five pumps installed at stations in Contentment, Richmond, and Concordia have allowed the Authority to satisfactorily meet demand for service and build additional storage capacity in our tanks across the distribution system,” said Noel Hodge, Chief Operating Officer, Water System. He added that WAPA continues to receive a steady supply from our production vendor Seven Seas Corporation, and we distribute the water product to not only our customers but to our storage facilities,” he added. 

So far in Fiscal Year 2019, St. Croix has run about 87% production capacity while St. Thomas has run at 68% capacity. “During the water crisis last month, St. Croix remained at 83% capacity, an indication that our challenges were distribution-related, and not a result of any type of water production shortage on St. Croix,” Kupfer added.

WAPA will use approximately $50 million in federal recovery HUD dollars to develop an overall plan for both the restoration and renovation of the territory’s aging water system. Until those efforts are underway, WAPA Water Distribution crews continue to carry out maintenance and repairs on an on-the-spot basis in both districts. 

In addition, WAPA typically receives $3 million of EPA Drinking Water Capital Improvement federal grants annually. The funding is earmarked for projects which improve water quality in the distribution systems. These projects are primarily water pipe rehabilitation. “Two such federally-funded projects for St. Croix include the Christiansted Waterline Rehabilitation Project Phase 2, and the Frederiksted Waterline Rehabilitation Project Phase 2. These projects will replace the old corroded cast iron pipes with non-corrosive PVC high pressure pipes,” Hodge said. Construction for Christiansted is scheduled May 2019 – April 2020 while construction for Frederiksted is scheduled for November 2019 – July 2020.