WAPA Mobilizes Contractors to Install More Pumps to Boost Water Flow

WAPA CEO Lawrence Kupfer in August testifying before the Senate Finance Committee. (File photo)
WAPA CEO Lawrence Kupfer (File photo)

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority on Thursday mobilized three contractors to install additional pumps at pumping stations in Richmond, Contentment and Concordia. This, after suffering a temporary setback in the ongoing efforts to build a high enough water storage capacity at Kingshill storage tank.

The service has been compromised since Saturday morning when the Concordia pump station fell off line for several hours, and the storage capacity at Kingshill was significantly reduced. The Kingshill tank must achieve a storage level of 6-7 feet of water, about 700,000 gallons, in order to restore normal service from mid-island to the west of St. Croix, including Frederiksted town.

“Earlier today, the water system on St. Croix suffered an unusual demand for service and within a five-hour period, the tank’s capacity diminished from four feet to one foot,” said Executive Director / CEO Lawrence J. Kupfer. In an effort to fully validate the system, crews were once again deployed throughout the mid-island to west end areas to verify there was no loss of water volume through leaking lines.

“Our crews inspected the system and found no compromises. We suspect an unusual demand may have occurred which significantly reduced our storage levels. Perhaps residents and business owners are using the limited water flow to refill cisterns and other water catchment facilities,” said Kupfer.

Kupfer sought to reassure the community that there is no shortage in the production of water on St. Croix. “We are only challenged by the ability to maintain adequate storage to effectively deliver potable water to the west end of the island.” By 1 p.m., Kupfer said, the five- million-gallon tank at Kingshill had regained three feet of water storage.

“I encourage residents and business owners to use only the volume of water they need, to allow for a continued building of storage capacity, so we can all benefit from the water service. The sooner we can get to a 6 to 7-foot level at Kingshill, then normal service will return to all of our customers. I also implore our customers to regularly conserve water,” Kupfer said.

“In light of this ongoing water service interruption, WAPA’s emergency management response team remains activated and steering the service restoration effort. Components of the team met with the contractors earlier on Thursday, and mapped out a strategy to install the additional pumps at each of the pumping stations by this coming Monday morning (March 18). “

The installations will bring to three, the number of pumps at Richmond, two at Contentment, and two at Concordia,” Kupfer said. “Our objective with these installations is to increase water flow to Kingshill tank and build inventory even quicker than we are now seeing,” he said.

Effective Thursday, the operating hours of the Richmond potable water standpipe is limited to five hours, from 4-9 p.m., daily, until the water service interruption has been resolved.