The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. officially unveiled its Bulk Chlorine Storage Facility last Friday, where the agency would store chlorine gas cylinders that are used to treat the CNMI’s water system.
CUC executive director Gary Camacho said the project is one way for their agency to take advantage of the support given by funding programs of federal agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which gave CUC $1,771,871.56 in grant money to build the facility.
“We utilize those funds to strengthen and harden our water programs. The support from EPA over the years in addressing our water production programs has been wonderful,” said Camacho. “And here is another clear example of the type of support given by EPA, which stores the chlorine gas that are used to prepare the water we extracted for production and for use by our consumers.”
Michael Lee, U.S. EPA Water Programs Lead and Construction Grants Project Officer, said the facility will protect CUC’s staff in handling and preparing chlorine gas.
“This provides safe storage of chlorine gas cylinders and gives CUC the ability to sustain disinfection of water system to protect the public’s health. It protects the chlorine gas cylinders from natural disasters like typhoons,” said Lee. “It also allows CUC to recover faster. Once a typhoon happens, [CUC] can bring back drinking water faster to the community and disinfect it so the people can use it.”
The facility would safely store chlorine gas cylinders that CUC personnel will use to distribute it to different water wells. Before, chlorine gas cylinders were kept outside a chain link fence that is exposed to the elements.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres congratulated CUC in completing the facility with funding help from the EPA. “Congratulations to all of you—from the director and engineers—in prioritizing the project.”
“We’ve been doing groundbreaking and ribbon cutting and this shows, with new facilities like this, that the administration works well with CUC. Now we have a 90-day back up chlorine [gas] to take care of our water issues,” said Torres. “We have not had this before.”