WMA Board OKs Sewer Line Replacement, Manhole Rehabilitation in C’sted

V.I. Waste Management Executive Director Roger Merritt Jr. speaks during a January Zoom meeting. (Screenshot)

The Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority’s board of directors on Tuesday approved an $8.4 million project to replace sewer lines and rehabilitate manhole covers in Christiansted.

The decision to proceed with the project was made on a 4-1 vote during the board’s meeting.

The project is expected to begin in June, with a completion date of June 2023.

Waste Management is required to operate and maintain a wastewater infrastructure throughout the territory, and the purpose of the sub-recipient agreement is to outline the terms and conditions for the Clean Water Construction Grant Program fund. The amount of $6.2 million will be allocated to the Waste Management Authority.

According to WMA’s Executive Director Roger Merritt Jr., Christiansted town’s wastewater collection system is comprised of 33,000 linear feet of sewer lines ranging from 4 to 12 inches.

“These sewer lines primarily run along the route of the streets and collect and transport sewage from businesses and homes to the Christiansted interceptor and ultimately to the LBJ pump station in Christiansted, St. Croix,” Merritt said.

General wear and tear require rehabilitation and repair to certain sections to extend the useful life of the system. The project will improve the water quality of the Christiansted Harbor, according to Merritt.

“In general, the scope consists of sewer pipe and lateral replacement, manhole rehabilitation, internal cleaning and inspection of the section of enlisting sewer line on King Street, Hospital Street and a section of the Christiansted boardwalk,” he said.

“There are recommendations to install a structural liner for the streets listed, concrete encasing in the areas where the sewer lines are above the Water and Power Authority portable waterline. This will avoid the sewer contaminating the water, and installation of a pump around the bypass for the rehabilitation. Also, aligning and replacing the existing sewer line. The contract scope shall include labor and materials to complete the pipe replacement, manholes, rehabilitation and all the logistics required to execute the project,” he said.

During the question-and-answer segment, board member Larry Richards asked, “I seem to recall a project maybe five years ago at this point in Christiansted that did exactly this. What is the difference between this project and that one?”

Elouise Brown, the territorial grant administrator for wastewater responded, “I wanted to clarify that it is probably over 15 streets in Christiansted that this project will cover. I want to believe the street that was completed previously was Company Street. This project will start from one of the streets up by the bypass area by Peter’s Farm go all the way down into Watergut Street and all the different streets within Christiansted up until right before the police station going into Christiansted. Practically the entire Christiansted.”

Richards emphasized the importance of coordination between the residents and the business community in Christiansted during the replacement.

“If we could have our progressive and advance coordination with communication and ensuring that the community is aware of what’s going to happen to disrupt the streets and the activities because I know that will be a major concern. If lines are being dug up and other infrastructure, we need to work very closely with the community to let them know what we are doing,” he said.