The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. on Friday will open its bulk chlorine storage facility in Lower Base, with the ribbon cutting ceremony starting at 10am. Construction of the facility began on Feb. 3, 2017, and the substantial completion date was April 6 this year.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded the project, with a total grant money of $1,771,871.56. The final construction cost of the facility, supervised by CUC project manager Birhen Martinez, amounted to $1,051,519.51.
The facility would secure and store CUC’s chlorine gas cylinders, which would improve operation and maintenance of its disinfection program for chlorine storage.
CUC stipulated order No. 1 requires a 90-day chlorine inventory for the CNMI’s three main islands: Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. Building the facility was part of the SO, in order to safely store chlorine cylinders.
“Chlorine gas is dangerous and having a properly designed storage facility ensures the public that during a gas leak, all safety features and appurtenances are in place,” as stated on CUC’s project highlights.
CUC, EPA, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s cooperation resulted in the design of the project. The project design was also followed in the specifications and recommendations made by EPA, based on the Process Hazard Analysis, Risk Management Plan, and Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.
The facility is also designed to keep its workers and the surrounding areas safe through the installation of emergency gas scrubbers, mechanical duct and dampers, and an alarm system and sensors in case of an accidental discharge of chlorine gas.
CUC also installed an emergency generator inside the facility to provide back-up power in the event of power interruption and ensure continuous operation.
CUC has also listed the following benefits of the facility: proper chlorine gas handling and storage facility are beneficial for the safety of [their] personnel, [the] public, and the environment; Saipan, Tinian, and Rota will have adequate inventory of chlorine gas for water treatment; complies with SO No. 1; and meets all safety requirements.
GHD Inc. designed the facility with RNV Construction as the contractor. Hofschneider Engineering inspected the project before the opening.