The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. is now soliciting bids to replace the corroded San Vicente water storage tank with a pre-stressed concrete tank, similar to the one installed at the Northern Marianas College.
CUC acting executive director William Gilmore said the 750,000-gallon water tank behind San Vicente Church is still operating but it’s “rusted badly.”
“We don’t trust it to handle with major storms,” said Gilmore, adding that the existing tank is starting to spring leaks. “We’re bidding it as we speak,” he said.
The San Vicente water tank is among the many U.S. Environmental Protection Agency projects intended to improve CUC’s water distribution system on the island.
EPA is funding three projects on Saipan, including the replacement of the San Vicente water tank, with an estimated total cost of $4.8 million, in order for CUC to increase the reliability of 24-hour water service in San Vicente, As Lito, Chinatown homestead, and other areas.
EPA inspector John Tinger disclosed last year that the San Vicente storage tank project has a projected cost of $3.3 million. Tinger said the Chinatown homestead waterline replacement project has an estimated cost of $1.1 million, while the As Lito water main project has a cost of $1.4 million.
EPA is funding two other CUC projects—in Gualo Rai and Fina Sisu—with an estimated cost of $2.73 million. Under the projects, old and leaking water lines were replaced to enable CUC to provide 24-hour water supply.
Gilmore disclosed that they are also bidding on two of three other major water transmission projects.
He said there will be a significant improvement in terms of water service and water pressure upon completion of these EPA-funded projects.
Gilmore said they are going to replace a lot of old water lines with concrete pipes.
“It will be from smaller service to the larger service. Pressure should be better, supply should be better,” he said.
Gilmore said the projects would also help CUC reduce its non-revenue water loss problem because the targeted places have significant leaks.
By installing new pipes, this will reduce CUC’s leak issue dramatically, he added.
CUC wants to reduce its non-revenue water loss to below 50%. At present, CUC’s non-revenue water loss is at 65 percent.
Gilmore said their leak detection group is now doing work up north of Saipan.