Love City residents were shocked to see a river of red water gushing from the Water And Power Authority’s Cruz Bay holding tank on Tuesday morning, May 1.
The flow of rust-colored water, however, was purposely pumped out of the bottom of the tank, according to WAPA’s director of water distribution Werner Wernicke.
“We’re rebuilding the tank,” said Wernicke. “The old tank is shot. The red water is the residual water at the bottom of the tank below the pipes.”
The 500,000-gallon tank, which dates from the 1970s, will be replaced with a new 750,000-gallon holding tank, Wernicke explained.
Old, Rusty Water
“We’ve never been able to take that tank down, but now the entire tank will be disposed of,” he said. “We used up all the water we could, but the water at the bottom of the tank must be pumped out.”
WAPA personnel are in the process of cutting the tank into pieces for disposal and will be working on the project for the next several months, according to Wernicke.
“First we cut the tank up, which is in progress right now,” he said. “Then we’ll do some foundation work and over the next several months the parts will be arriving in components.”
With the only water storage on St. John for the next few months being the 500,000-gallon silver holding tank in Cruz Bay, WAPA officials are thanking Mother Nature for the recent downpours, Wernicke explained.
Thankful for Rain
“We don’t have adequate storage right now,” he said. “The rain is really working in our favor. We’re in a tighter spot than we would normally be in.”
The Cruz Bay standpipe is open and the new water holding tank should be complete “toward the end of the year,” explained Wernicke.